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)
Wales U20 captain Tom Phillips and performance psychologist Dr Rich Neil explain why spending three days at Monmouth RFC has further strengthened the togetherness of the squad ahead of the #WorldRugbyU20s
Alongside Scarlets flanker James Davies and Cardiff Blues centre Cory Allen, three Wales Sevens core players have made the extended training squad for GB Sevens. Wales Head coach Gareth Williams tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie why Luke Treharne, Sam Cross and Luke Morgan earned selection in the initial training squad for Rio.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie he has had to overcome a number of injuries before naming a competitive squad for this weekend's penultimate round of the World Series in Paris.
Merthyr were officially crowned champions of the SSE SWALEC Championship at Dowlais on Saturday where captain Andy Powell paid tribute to his side who have earned promotion to the Principality Premiership
Coleg y Cymoedd's season has had a spectacular ending with victory in two cup finals and a massive victory over one of the best rugby playing schools in the world - Welsh coach Warren Gatland's old alma mater, Hamilton Boys' High School.
WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips hosted the second meeting of the WRU Youth Board last weekend ahead of the Judgement Day IV regional double-header. Tthe board, made up of 15 under-21-year-olds from around Wales, heard presentations from head of participation Ryan Jones, policy and integrity manager Jeremy Rogers and national women's rugby manager Caroline Spanton, with Pro Rugby Wales CEO Mark Davies also on hand to hear the range of views aired.
Wales duo Rhun Williams and Liam Belcher, who makes a welcome return after five months of injury woe, look ahead to next month's World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester where they will face Ireland, Georgia and New Zealand.