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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 13:45 GMT
Your memories of the French franc
The French franc slipped into history to be replaced entirely by the euro. You sent us your memories of the currency.
I was very impressed with the franc notes when I first saw them not so long ago. I certainly agree that the euro is not quite as attractive though it is considerably more attractive than the US dollar. Looking at the bigger picture though, it's the idea of the notes that is more important and I am in full support of it.
I remember running into the railway station in Tours with just a few minutes to catch the TGV train back to Paris. I had been doing a lot of walking that day and had consumed a great deal of water. Needless to say, nature had taken its course and I needed to go to the gents'. The woman outside the toilets collected money depending on the task - 1 franc to urinate, 2 francs to sit down. I ran to her window and slapped my 1 franc coin on the counter. They'll have to re-examine the pricing structure at the toilets in the railway station in Tours now. I doubt anyone would want to pay a whole euro for a slash.
I will really miss the FF50 franc note. It's a really beautiful piece of currency and Saint Exupery and the Little Prince represent sources of French pride. Much better than the nondescript bridges...
So the franc will disappear into history - but probably not its baby sister the centime. That is now more popularly used to describe 100th of a euro than the euro-correct 'cent'.
It is wonderful to see Europe going in the same direction. The euro will be a symbol of power around the world replacing the American Dollar. It is sad to see the franc disappear. But terrific to see a new one replace it.
Having lived in Geneva for over 10 years, one of the things that I enjoyed when crossing the border into France, was the feel of the currency as well as their pictorial designs. I feel lucky that I kept uncirculated notes on both of these object d'art.
The franc notes, especially the FF50, were like toy money with all the cartoon drawings on them. The only thing I didn't like were the centimes. Still, I will be sad to see them go and will miss them next time I visit France.
As an Italian working in France, I am simply delighted Europe has made this big and still so natural step. I will certainly not miss the franc, neither will I miss the lira. Everything already seems so much simpler, that the question arises why we didn't think of this before.
Jamil Farah, Paris, France
I know that one of the nicest coins of all that I have must be the FF20 coin. French coins always amazed me as they stayed the same for so long unlike most other countries'.
Vietnamese people feel so sad that the nice currency has been replaced.
I will only regret one thing about the franc: the current banknotes designs. I think they are the nicest Europe: very colourful, with plenty of fun details to look at. Did you know that on the FF50 note some lines of Saint-Exupery's Little Prince are printed in tiny letters? And that the FF 500, which shows Marie Curie, displays the radium formula?
In the early 1960's, we switched to the "nouveau Franc"; one of those was now worth a 100 of the old ones ("ancien franc"). Until the spring of 1998 when I left France, many people in their sixties in the rural community of the Sarthe were still counting and making every day transactions in "ancien francs". They mentally had to convert from the current "nouveau franc".
I am curious to see how they French people will make the transition to the euro, a different currency and a different value altogether.
Eric Coupey, USA
The design of franc notes was beautiful. By contrast the euro looks sterile. to me.
I mainly remember what a ghastly design they had, especially the FF50 note. Only the Swiss Franc comes close in terms of gaudy use of colour, bad design and poor drawing skills.
A very famous and relatively strong currency is now on the verge of becoming part of history after centuries of circulation. It makes one wonder why the French actually decided to abandon it.
The old currency had a great deal more artistic flair than the new euro notes, which are rather drab. But it is great to see Irish, Italian, Greek, Luxembourg coins mixing with the French euro coinage in your hand after getting your baguette!!
Olivier Laruaz-Gaillard, London
I was especially attached to the new FF50 note showing Saint Exupery. When it first came out, I was reluctant to spend it! I now wish I had kept a sample of it, for posterity.
The franc is a symbol of the romance of travel. For a British person crossing the channel, these notes - larger, more vivid and less restrained than their UK counterparts - were a foretaste of what was to come. Touching them, and having them in one's wallet, was a pleasure in itself. Spending them - on baguettes, wine, charcuterie, cheese, or just coffee and croissants - was close to addictive.
I missed the franc from the first day the euro came into electronic existence on 1 January 1999. I will miss the franc even more on Sunday. The franc will be back, eventually.
France should be proud to leave the franc behind. It is a symbol that her dream of a safe and united Europe has been fulfilled.
Perhaps as a student travelling in France, I was most stunned at the ability of being able to take out a few 10 franc pieces and being able to pay for just about anything that comes to immediate mind, save some gifts.
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