DEFINITION of 'French Franc - F'
A currency used in France, prior to the introduction of the euro. The French franc, whose symbol was "F" or "FF," was the national currency until the euro was introduced for accounting purposes in 1999, and as coins and banknotes in 2002. The French franc was also used in Andorra, which had no national currency of its own, with legal tender. Coins worth one livre tournois between 1360 and 1641 were called francs; the name became common terminology for coins of this value. Other countries that used the franc include French Polynesia, Monaco, Saar and Saarland.
BREAKING DOWN 'French Franc - F'
The French franc was divided into subunits called centimes. Coins were available in 5, 1, and 20 centimes; 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 francs. Banknotes were available in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 francs.
The franc was established in 1360 by King John II. The name stems from the inscription "Johannes Dei Gratia Francorum Rex," which translates to "John by the grace of God King of the Franks." In 1795, the decimal franc was established as the national currency, where 1 franc was equal to 10 decimes, which were equal to 100 centimes of 4.5 grams of silver.
The new franc was introduced in 1960, which was worth 100 of the old francs. Holders of franc coins could exchange them for euros at the Banque de France until February 2005; banknotes can be exchanged until February 2012.