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France and the euro

France is a founding member of the European Union and one of the first-wave countries to adopt the euro on 1 January 1999.

France at a glance

Surface: 549 090 km2
Population: 64 105 125 (Eurostat 2009)
Joined the European Union: founding member (25 March 1957)
Currency: Euro since 1 January 1999 (formerly French franc, FRF)

Euro information

Status: Euro-area member since 1 January 1999.

Fixed conversion rate: €1 = 6.55957 FRF

Adoption of the euro: The euro banknotes and coins were introduced in France on 1 January 2002, after a transitional period of three years when the euro was the official currency but only existed as 'book money'. The dual circulation period – when both the French franc and the euro had legal tender status – ended on 17 February 2002.

Exchange of former national currency: The Banque de France (National Central Bank of France) exchanged French franc coins until 17 February 2005 and will continue to exchange French franc banknotes until 17 February 2012.

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