Monday, 21 December 2009

A Top 12 of the Noughties in Paris, Part Two


The Euro Arrives (2002)
I never liked the Franc. It was an ugly currency with denominations that were just too large. With the ‘ancien franc’ it was even worse - in 1959 a single baguette cost 38 Francs! The updated and slimmed down 'nouveau franc' came into force way back in 1960, but when I arrived in France in the 90s people were still continuing to refer to prices in ‘anciens francs’. Incredibly this even included people who had not even been born when the ‘ancien franc’ was in circulation! Clearly something had to be done, and I for one was delighted when the Euro came into force on January 1st 2002.


Naturally enough, people were initially flumoxed and many believe that the introduction of the currency provoked an inflation that fed on this confusion. Others
see this Europe-wide currency as a symbol of rampant capitalism, introduced only to facilitate trade, but I view it more as a fantastic symbol of unity amongst peoples. Today Paris is aligned with Brussels, Berlin, Rome and Madrid, places I can visit with the same notes and coins in my pockets.

My only regret – and source of shame – is that my country of origin, the UK, hasn’t adopted the currency. Today it is the Pound that looks ugly and small-minded, a symbol of the country’s disunity with the rest of Europe. I still dare to dream though, that one day the Euro will cross the Channel, and that the contents of my wallet will no longer get all mixed up each time I take the Eurostar.

6 comments:

Peter (the other) said...

What a wonderfully symbolic moment, and magical in its unlikeliness, so many differing cultures agreeing to give up their most very own symbols, the money of their parents. But I took some pleasure in the last 50 franc note. And in spite of its sort of dullish brown, as a composer, I kind of liked the 20 franc and older 10 franc notes as well. Of course, to a citizen of the USA, as I am, all other monies are colorful and interesting.

Emily said...

I couldn't agree more with your last para re. the GBP. I am hoping that one day soon we will join the Euro (and I won't have to keep a dual system going on in my wallet).

Tim said...

I used to like the old 10 franc coins - not the snazzy Euro-like ones we had at the end, but the one before that. This one, in fact.

Starman said...

I can't believe after all these years, they still give the ff equivalent of the euro price.

Peter said...

I can but agree! ... and like you I feel ashamed of my original country, Sweden, which still use the krona.

Charlie M said...

The romantic notion is nice - however the reality really needs more thought to practicality. Don't forget - the Greek lifestyle, and it IS a completely different way of life - could cause the collapse of the entire euro and create havoc in places that didn't necessarily deserve it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Twitter Instagram Write Bookmark this page More

 
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Premium Wordpress Themes