Banque de France

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Banque de France
Headquarters Paris, France
Established 18 January 1800
Governor François Villeroy de Galhau
Central bank of France
Preceded by Banque Royale
Succeeded by European Central Bank (1999)1
1 The Bank of France (Banque de France) still exists but many functions have been taken over by the ECB.

The Banque de France, headquartered in Paris, is the central bank of France; it is linked to the European Central Bank (ECB). Founded in 1800, it helped resolve the financial crisis of 1848 and emerged as a powerful central bank. Its main charge is to implement the interest rate policy of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).


In 1800, financial power in France was in the hands of about ten to fifteen banking houses whose founders, in most cases, came from Switzerland in the second half of the eighteenth century. These bankers, mostly Protestant, were deeply involved in the agitations leading up to the French Revolution. When the revolutionary violence got out of hand, they orchestrated the rise of Napoleon, whom they regarded as the restorer of order. As a reward for their support, Napoleon, in 1800, gave the bankers a monopoly over French finance by giving them control of the new Bank of France.[1] For the first fifteen years it was the sole issuer of bank notes in Paris, and this privilege was extended to other financially important towns and the rest of the country by 1848.[2]

Linkage with the ESCB

ATM of the Banque de France in Paris.

On 1 June 1998, a new institution was created, the European Central Bank (ECB), charged with steering the single monetary policy for the euro. The body formed by the ECB, and the national central banks (NCB) of all the member states of the European Union, constitute the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).

The ESCB is an institutional framework of a single monetary policy for the euro. According to the Banque de France's website, the "sharing of responsibilities between the ECB and the NCBs is based upon significant decentralization of the conduct of the ESCB's single monetary policy".

Headquarters : Hôtel de Toulouse in Paris


  • 1716 John Law opens the Banque Générale
  • 1718 The Banque Générale is acquired by the government and renamed Banque Royale
  • 1721 The bubble crashes and its chief executive flees for his life[3]
  • 1800 Creation of the Banque de France by Napoleon Bonaparte[1]
  • 14 April 1803, the new Bank received its first official charter granting it the exclusive right to issue paper money in Paris for fifteen years.[4]
  • 22 April 1806, a new law replaced the Central Committee with a Governor and two Deputy Governors. All three were appointed by the Emperor.[4]
  • Decree dated 16 January 1808 set out the "Basic Statutes", which were to govern the Bank's operations until 1936.[4]
  • Decree on 6 March 1808 authorized the Bank to purchase the former mansion of the Count of Toulouse in the rue de la Vrillière in Paris for its headquarters.[4]
  • 1808–1936 The Bank's notes became legal tender; expansion of the branch network
  • 1936–1945 Nationalisation
  • 1973 Rewriting of the Bank's statutes
  • 1993 A landmark reform granted the Bank independence, in order to ensure price stability, regardless of domestic politics. This reform cleared the path for the European monetary union.
  • 1998 Entered into the European System of Central Banks


In 2010, the French government's Autorité de la concurrence (the department in charge of regulating competition) fined eleven banks, including Banque de France, the sum of €384,900,000 for colluding to charge unjustified fees on check processing, especially for extra fees charged during the transition from paper check transfer to "Exchanges Check-Image" electronic transfer.[5][6]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Quigley, Carroll (1966). Tragedy And Hope. New York: Macmillan. p. 515. ISBN 0-945001-10-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Banque de France, Encyclopaedia Britannica
  3. Graeber, David (2011). Debt: The First 5000 Years. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House. p. 342. ISBN 978-1-933633-86-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3
  5. Collusion in the banking sector, Press Release of Autorité de la concurrence, République Française, 20 September 2010, retrv 20 September 2010
  6. 3rd UPDATE: French Watchdog Fines 11 Banks For Fee Cartel , Elena Bertson, Dow Jones News Wires / Wall Street Journal online, retr 20 September 2010

Further reading

  • Bouvier, Jean. "The Banque de France and the State from 1850 to the Present Day." in Fausto Vicarelli, et al. eds., Central banks' independence in historical perspective (Walter de Gruyter, 1988) pp 73–104.
  • Jacoud, Gilles. "Crises et Apprentissage: La Banque de France en 1848," Entreprises et Histoire (Dec. 2012) Issue 69, pp 27–37
  • Plessis, Alain. "The history of banks in France." in Pohl, Manfred, and Sabine Freitag, eds. Handbook on the history of European banks (Edward Elgar Publishing, 1994) pp: 185-296. online

External links

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