In practice, however, the scope and effects of the legal tender status of euro banknotes and coins are still governed by national law.
In France, the majority of the rules relating to euros were already applicable to the old franc banknotes and coins, and are largely set out in the national Monetary and Financial Code.
The protection of legal tender is guaranteed by Article R642-3 of the French Criminal Code: “Refusing to accept banknotes and coins that have legal tender in France at the value at which they are in circulation is punishable by a fine applicable to class two offences.”
The legal tender status and exchange of first-series euro banknotes following the issuance of the Europa series
The Europa series banknotes issued from 2013 onwards will initially circulate in parallel with the first series as legal tender. The first series will gradually be withdrawn from circulation and the date on which it ceases to be legal tender will be announced well in advance. After this date, it will not be possible to use first banknotes as legal tender, although they will be exchangeable for an unlimited period at the Banque de France and at Euro-system NCBs.