On the €1 and €2 coins, a tree symbolising life, growth and stability is framed by a hexagon – France – and surrounded by the motto of the French Republic: ‘Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité’ (Freedom, Equality, Fraternity). The edge lettering on the €2 coin is ‘2**’ repeated six times, alternately upright and inverted.
The 10, 20 and 50-cent coins depict a sower, a traditional feature of French coins and stamps since 1898.
The 1, 2 and 5-cent coins show a modern portrait of Marianne, the personification of the French Republic..
In France, a competition was organised in 1996-1997 to choose the design of the national sides of the euro coins. A panel, chaired by the Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs and made up of experts in numismatics, artists, members of parliament, one former member of the European Commission (Christine Scrivener), the French Mint Director Emmanuel Constans, the General Engraver Pierre Rodier, actress Irène Jacob and members of professional bodies, chose the winning designs from over 1 200 entries received from 97 participants.