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)
The WRU's Women and Girls legacy events - #TRY OUR GAME have proved popular this week with current players and newcomers to the game learning new skills and picking up tips from national squad players.
We caught up with Shona and Ellie from the Wales women team ahead of the start of the Women's Rugby World Cup in Paris next month at a recent women's training session to encourage and promote more women and girls to try their hand at rugby. #tryourgame
The Women's Rugby World Cup warm-up clash between Wales and USA proved bittersweet for centre Elen Evans. Despite being one of the star performers on the day on her 50th Test appearance, USA edged home 10-7 at Cross Keys.
Wales completed their Junior World Championship campaign with a victory over Samoa. Team manager Mark Taylor and No 8 James Benjamin reflect on a tournament which saw Wales win three games and lose two.
Wales U20 players Angus O'Brien, Nicky Thomas and coach Richard Hodges are determined to finish their Junior World Championship with a flourish when they tackle the big hitting Samoans tomorrow in Auckland.