Monnaie de Paris, France’s oldest business
The Paris We know today is a hub for business, but did you know that its first enterprise was established over a thousand years ago?
During the 9th century in France, King Charles II wanted to foster commercial unity throughout his kingdom and thought a single currency would be an effective way to achieve this goal. Thus in 843 he opened the Monnaie de Paris, a government controlled center, otherwise known as a mint facility, to manufacture an official French currency.
As the economy grew increasingly complex, the institution opened mint workshops around the country, per government orders. With this expansion, the mint industry flourished and the Monnaie de Paris’ responsibility extended beyond manufacturing coins.
In the 16th-17th centuries, the Monnaie de Paris started to produce national medals. Today, it handles both traditional and nontraditional tasks of a mint facility. After President Charles de Gaulle declared that the French minting industry should remain mostly outside of Paris, even more facilities opened up around the country.
Today, the mint engraves and packages coins, burnishes flans, or metal disks, and produces the Euro for multiple countries. As a designated EPIC, a state-backed center of industry and commerce in France, the Monnaie de Paris has unveiled a number of exhibitions on minting at its location in Paris.
If you visit France’s oldest business today, you can take a tour of its grounds and shop for replicas of some of its most valuable coins. But most importantly, you can experience the rich history of France’s minting industry. Though the world was entirely different in 843, the Monnaie de Paris can connect us to this distant past with a single coin.