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)
WRU International Skills Coach Jason Strange is a busy man, combining the new role with that of Wales Under 20 attack coach, Ebbw Vale head coach and continuing to teach at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community.
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
WRU TV go behind the scenes with the Wales squad as they put the final touches in place ahead of the clash against Scotland at Murrayfield. Follow the squad on their captain's run, the kickers visit to Murrayfield and Neil Jenkins' press conference