france lottery

France lottery

Some France lotteries have an interesting history that goes way back. Take a look at the France Loto or the My Million Euromillions. Since the establishment in 1976 it has gained national attention for it’s great prize money and Jackpot. A draw takes place three days a week at Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. So with this lotto you regularly have a chance to win great prize money.

Winning the French Lotto Jackpot

As is the case with any other lottery, it’s all about picking the right number. In the case of France Loto you have to choose five numbers from a range of 49. There’s also a Lucky Number involved from a range of 1-10. You win the Jackpot when the standard number and Lucky Number correctly, so six numbers in total. The minimum amount of Jackpot money is 2 million euros, but this increases when there’s no hit. In that case the Jackpot is one million more next time. The maximum number of roll overs is 34.

Big Jackpot
The winning odds of the France Loto Jackpot aren’t very high. On the other hand: the amount of Jackpot money is definitely impressive when you win. For example, a very lucky player won 24 million euros in 2011! It took 13 draws before this special moment. Interesting is the fact that the Jackpot started with 13 million euros, so because of the many rollovers it nearly doubled. Another great Jackpot hit took place in 1996. Sometimes it takes years, but when the Jackpot falls it definitely makes the headlines!

Six prize categories Loto

Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evening at 8.30 CET it’s time for the draw. Place to be is the beautiful capital of Paris. You can win money in one of the six prize categories, also known as ‘tiers’.

Prize category Numbers
Jackpot 5 + Lucky Number
2nd prize 5
3rd prize 4
4rd prize 3
5th prize 2
6th prize Lucky Number

Experience a bit of madness during the French Loto draws

French people like to make a gamble. This is clearly shown by the French Loto, that attracts thousands of players every week. France is completely excited three times a week, when the draw takes place. You can win big prizes and a Jackpot of a few million euros. It gets even more exciting when there is no Jackpot hit. In that case the money will be increased with one million dollars. So it comes at no surprise that there’s a little bit of madness during the French Loto draw!

Cheap lottery tickets
The lottery tickets are also quite cheap, namely 5 euro. Much cheaper than Dutch lotteries like the National Lottery and Bank Giro Lottery, for example. You can purchase the tickets easily online, namely at the Lotter. It might be a good option to purchase three lottery tickets together for 15 euro. In that case your chance on winning a French Loto prize is 1/16. You also benefit from the discount that is given on multiple tickets. Sometimes you even pay 25 percent less, while your winning chance increases as well!
Rules of the French Loto
The rules of the French Loto are really simple. You need to pick five numbers from a range of 1 to 49, and one extra number out of 1 to 10. You win the Jackpot if your chosen numbers and the extra numbers match with the numbers that appear during the draw. You win the second prize when five numbers match without the extra number. You win the third prize when four numbers and the extra number are correct. You can even win the tenth prize. In that case only the extra number (1-10) must be correct.

Good winning chances
The French Loto is not only popular because of the great Jackpot. The winning chance of 1:16 is important for the popularity of this lottery as well. A winning chance of 1:16 is actually quite good, compared to other lotteries. Winners don’t even have to pay taxes, which makes this lottery different from the Powerball Lottery. One of these winners was a factory worker from the French city of Montpellier. He won the Jackpot not once, but twice! In 1996 a few million French Francs were added to his bank account, about 2.8 million euros. Funny enough the millionaire decided not to quit playing. He loved it so much that the played again with the same numbers. They definitely were his lucky numbers, because in 2011 he won the Jackpot of 3 million dollars!

New millionaires
You think that the story of the French factory worker is too good to be true, but it really happened. He’s not even the luckiest player, because that’s the person who won the incredible amount of 24 million euros in 2011! He or she became incredible rich with numbers 10, 13,22,30 and 45 and the reserve number 1. The second highest Jackpot hit fell in May 2014, when someone won 23 million euros with just one ticket. In this case 8, 9, 40, 41, 49 and 3 were the lucky numbers.

Latest Loto draw 2020

The latest Lotto draw of the La Française des Jeux in France on Monday, see our website for the last information.

Buy tickets for the French Loto

The French Lottery: My Take on Getting Taken

It’s Easy to Win: Just Fill in the Right Blanks

When I was a young man, my father took me aside one day and gave me some advice that has served me well throughout my life. “Son,” he said, “Usually there are two or three little metal hooks in the back that fit into these tiny eyelets, so you reach around and kind of squeeze the ends of the strap together and then when the hooks come loose, you relax your grip a bit so that… Oh never mind. Listen, kid: never gamble any more money than you can afford to lose.”

I never did figure out what he was babbling about in that first part, but I took his advice to heart about gambling. These days, I figure I can afford to lose €4 a week, and that’s what I spend on lottery tickets.

Like many countries around the world, France has a national lottery, called, in one of those transcendental flashes of inspiration that set humankind apart from the lower beasts, the Loterie Nationale, or “Loto” for short.

The tickets are sold mostly through tabacs, the cafés that also sell cigarettes. This is for convenience, so that customers who want to gamble with their lives as well as their livelihoods can do both under one roof.

As with most lotteries, the procedure for playing is so simple any idiot can do it. And many do, which is pretty much what the organizers had in mind. It can be summed up in four steps:

Step 1: Pick five numbers from 1 to 49

I don’t know why, but a great many lotteries use numbers from 1 to just below 50. I suppose the idea is to make the range of possibilities large enough so that it’s more or less impossible to win but small enough so that it’s more or less possible.

Step 2: Pick another number between 1 and 10

In one popular U.S. lottery this is called the “powerball.” In France, the extra number evokes a ball as well, but indirectly: it’s called the numéro de chance, which most people think means “lucky number” but is actually an abbreviation of numéro de chance d’une boule de neige en enfer.

Step 3: Pay €2 for each number combination played

The price varies depending on whether you want to play one, two or all three of the weekly drawings, only for the current week or for up to five weeks, whether you want to bet on a “Super Loto” special jackpot and whether you want to pay extra for a “Joker” game.

The latter is based on a seven-digit random number and gives you, for a bet of up to €8, a one in 10 million chance of winning half a million euros. That, apparently, is the joke.

Got your ticket all filled out? Good! You may now proceed to…

Step 4: Lose

What did you expect? If you’re going to play the lottery, you have to recognize the fact that your chances of matching all five numbers in the main grid plus the “lucky” number are exceedingly slim.

In fact, “slim” isn’t even the right term here. Nor “emaciated.” Even “skeletal” would be overly optimistic.

The odds of winning any given drawing are about one in 20 million, which, according to various unverifiable sources, are also the odds of being killed in a variety of ways that would move your obituary closer to page one, including by terrorist attack, plane crash, falling tree branch and a rare pancreatic disease called glucagonoma.

Allegedly, these are also the odds, after you’re good and dead, of your being named a saint. This may be true, but in my case, at least, the lottery is a much safer bet.

And then, even if you win, you lose. That is, the jackpot is not even vaguely proportionate to your chances of winning it. The basic payout is €2 million — one-20th the amount that would accurately reflect the odds and the minimum wager.

Furthermore, if no one wins the top prize in a given drawing, the next jackpot is increased by a relatively measly €1 million. In other words, the only party that makes any serious money out of the Loterie Nationale is the Loterie Nationale.

Now, smart readers, I know what you’re thinking: if the lottery is such a pathetic sucker’s game, why do I play?

The answer is that I have a system that makes it worthwhile and which, solely in the interest of the public good, I will now reveal. In a nice piece of symmetry, it also consists of four steps:

Step 1: As Dad said, bet a small and losable amount of money

And as I said, for me this is €4 per week, which I usually put on two numbers in the Wednesday drawing. If I win it back by hitting one of the lesser, low-paying combinations, I play again the following Saturday.

Some weeks I actually come out a little bit ahead, and once I won €600, which meant that I broke even for three years. But most of the time, it’s money pissed away, out the window. So to speak.

Step 2: Pick a majority of numbers above 31

This is to save you from having to share the jackpot, should you happen to hit it, with all the unimaginative clods who pick their five numbers by playing their birthday, their dog’s birthday and their SAT math score.

Step 3: Try to play during periods when money is coming in

Like butterflies, the moon and my former fiancée’s concept of fidelity, money goes through phases. If you play the lottery when the tide of cash is trickling in rather than flooding out, you can at least imagine that you have a slightly better chance of winning.

Ridiculous, I admit, but if you’re going to spend your hard-won income on a 20-million-to-one bet, why not just go ahead and believe in baldfaced bushwa while you’re at it?

Now then, before going on, make sure that you have observed my instructions to the letter. You have to follow the exact procedure in order for this to work.

All set? OK, it’s time to move on to…

Step 4: Lose

I said “worthwhile,” not “lucrative.” It goes without saying that you’re still going to lose like Custer. But I’ve said it anyway, mainly because it brings me to my main point…

The purpose of playing the lottery is not to win money. The purpose of playing the lottery is to daydream about what a nice, magnanimous, generous, beneficent, all-around wonderful person you’re going to be when, by which I mean if, you win.

For a €2 bet, what you win is the right to imagine yourself feeding the hungry, building orphanages, buying Bentleys and butt-lifts for all of your friends and donating the pivotal half-million to medical research that enables the discovery of a cure for glucagonoma. For two little two-color coins, that’s a bargain.

The way I see it, playing the lottery isn’t supposed to be wealth-building but character-building. It is, after all, a game. Games are supposed to be fun, and the daydreaming makes it more fun. Which is why I am going to conclude this article with two fun facts about the lottery.

Fun Fact No. 1

In compliance with the very first decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court, whenever the topic of lotteries comes up, someone is legally obligated to mention that “you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than of winning the jackpot.”

It is true that lightning strikes more than one person out of every 20 million, but this is not an accurate comparison. In France about 10 people are put six feet under by thunder every year, but there have been 10 top-prize lottery winners in just the past two months.

The fault in the logic is this: the way you play one “game,” so to speak, in the getting-hit-by-lightning sweepstakes is by living one complete life on Earth, whereas the way you play one game in a lottery is by buying a ticket, which you can do a thousand times a week if you feel like it.

Although if you can afford a thousand tickets a week, you don’t need to be playing the lottery. You need to be buying me a Bentley.

Fun fact No. 2

Claude Monet was a lottery winner. No kidding. He won 100,000 francs in the Loterie Nationale in 1891. This was the equivalent of about €10,000, which was enough back then to allow him to quit his job as a messenger and sit in front of an easel all day staring at water lilies, cathedrals and haystacks until they looked all blurry — although most art historians attribute his unique, visionary rendering of light and color to the fact that he was struck by lightning the following year.

Reader Daniela Bak writes: “Every time I stand in line to buy a lottery ticket, I remember at one point that I have as much chance of winning with the sequence of numbers ‘1,2,3,4 and 5’ as I have with my very carefully selected ones… So I leave the line and put the €2 in the bowl of the musician playing his balafon in the metro. My favorite publicity slogan, though, is ‘ 100% des gagnants ont tenté leur chance.’ Brilliant. Thank you for making me discover the Claude Monet fun fact. At last I can understand what created that blurry effect! Loved the ‘chute’ too :-))”

David Jaggard replies: “Thanks Daniela. There actually was a drawing a while back in which the winning combination was 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Anyway, with my system it’s not so much winning as ‘winning.’”

© 2013 Paris Update

An album of David Jaggard’s comic compositions is now available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music, for purchase (whole or track by track) on iTunes and Amazon, and on every other music downloading service in the known universe, under the title “Totally Unrelated.”

Note to readers: David Jaggard’s e-book Quorum of One: Satire 1998-2011 is available from Amazon as well as iTunes, iBookstore, Nook, Reader Store, Kobo, Copia and many other distributors.

Follow C’est Ironique on Facebook and Twitter.


It’s an interesting article. I enjoyed reading it.
I have a question.
Where did you find out about Monet’s lottery?
There are many short stories about it all over the place, but I don’t have any solid information. If you don’t mind, please answer.

Thank you for reading and commenting on this article. As the title implies, C’est Ironique is not intended to be serious. My sources for the Monet lottery story are the anecdotes that are easily found on the Internet, although I first read about it years ago in a book. I don’t recall now which book, sorry to say.

The French Lottery: My Take on Getting Taken It’s Easy to Win: Just Fill in the Right Blanks When I was a young man, my father took me aside one day and gave me some advice that has served me ]]>