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France is the largest EU country and extends from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. Its landscape is diverse. There are mountain ranges in the east and south, with Mont Blanc (4,810 m above sea level) being the tallest peak in the Alps and the highest summit in Western Europe. The most important sectors of the French economy in 2014 were public administration, defense, education, health and social care (23.2%), wholesale and retail trade, transport, hospitality (17.7%) and industry (13.8%). The main export and import partners of France are Germany, Belgium and Italy.


The Paris Mint (Monnaie de Paris) is a public institution based in Paris, whose core business is coin production. The Paris Mint currently employs 500 people working in two places: the Hôtel de la Monnaie in Paris and in the town of Pessac in the Gironde department.

The mint’s mission is determined by the Monetary and Financial Code. It has a state monopoly on minting circulating coins. In addition, it also carries out commercial and industrial activities:

  • Production and sale of foreign coins, collector coins, medals and decorations
  • Production of art objects and jewellery under the brand Monnaie de Paris
  • Administration of the Mint Museum and maintenance of the Hôtel de la Monnaie
  • Fighting against counterfeits and manufacturing hallmarking tools

At the European level, the Pessac workplace analyses and classifies counterfeit euro coins from across the Eurozone, a role it performs alongside the Centre national d’analyse des pièces (Coin National Analysis Centre) and the Centre technique et scientifique européen (European Technical and Scientific Centre). The workplace operates within the Office européen de lutte anti–fraude (European Anti-Fraud Office) and as a technical coordination body of Member States to combat counterfeiting.

The Paris Mint was founded in 864 by Charles II (Charles the Bald), and is one of France’s oldest institutions. The mint was attached to the Ministry of Finance in 1796. In 1358, the mint obtained a structure that was largely kept intact until 1879, i.e. the administration and regulation of currency, but under state supervision. Not until the laws of 1879 was it stipulated that the state itself would produce coins under the name Administration des Monnaies et Médailles (Administration of Coins and Medals). In 1848–1876 there was an engraving workshop inside the mint building for the production of the first French postage stamps. In 1973, the state set up a new factory to produce circulation and collector coins in Pessac. Since 1998, this factory has been producing eight denominations of the French euro coins. Until 2007, the Paris Mint fell under the Directorate of Coins and Medals and was part of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry. The mint acquired its legal personality under Act No. 2006–1666.

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