The son of four-times capped former Wales international threequarter Jim Shanklin, Tom scored two tries on his international debut, in the 53-30 second Test victory over Japan in Tokyo last summer. His Championship debut comes 32 years after his father made his bow, also against the French.
He features among three changes new National Coach Steve Hansen has made from the starting line-up against Ireland 10 days ago for his first international in charge.
Shanklin and Newport's Andy Marinos - the latter came on as a 10th minute replacement in Dublin - form a new centre partnership with Jamie Robinson ruled out with an ankle injury and Iestyn Harris named among the replacements.
Andy Moore (Swansea) replaces ankle injury victim Chris Wyatt in the second row, Llanelli lock Wyatt failing an 11th hour fitness test.
"We selected the strongest available team against Ireland and we are currently trying to get some consistency into selection and feel that, by doing so, we will get the improvement we are looking for," said Hansen.
"Tom Shanklin's selection is down to the fact he was the in-form centre in the Wales A side and, with the odd exception, it is from that source our future selections will come."
Gavin Thomas (Bath Rugby) comes in for Neath's Brett Sinkinson on the replacement bench as part of the selection policy.
"The change between Brett and Gavin on the bench is because Brett has been selected to play for the A team on Friday night as part of the consistent rota policy where players sustain match fitness by playing in the A team rather than sit on the bench," said Hansen.
"Both players have been aware of our intentions regarding the rota policy."
LLOYDS TSB SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP 2002
Wales v France
Saturday, 16th February
Kick-off: 2.00 pm
15 Kevin Morgan (Swansea)
14 Dafydd James (Bridgend)
13 Tom Shanklin (Saracens)
12 Andy Marinos (Newport Rugby)
11 Craig Morgan (Cardiff)
10 Stephen Jones (Llanelli)
9 Robert Howley (Cardiff)
1 Spencer John (Cardiff)
2 Robin McBryde (Llanelli)
3 Chris Anthony (Newport Rugby)
4 Craig Quinnell (Cardiff)
5 Andy Moore (Swansea)
6 Nathan Budgett (Bridgend)
7 Martyn Williams (Cardiff)
8 Scott Quinnell (Llanelli, captain)
16 Barry Williams (Neath)
17 Duncan Jones (Neath)
18 Ian Gough (Newport Rugby)
19 Gavin Thomas (Bath Rugby)
20 Dwayne Peel (Llanelli)
21 Iestyn Harris (Cardiff)
22 Rhys Williams (Cardiff)
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.