French Metric Weights and Measures and their equivalents

Metric Weights and Measures and Conversions

In general, weights & measures in France and the Continent are metric.
Credit for originating the metric system is usually given to Gabriel Mouton, a French vicar, somewhere around 1670, but the basis of the system we know today was designed during the French Revolution in the 1790’s, and brought order out of the conflicting and confusing traditional systems of weights and measures then being used in Europe.

Units legally used in business in France


1000 metres




1/10 of a metre


1/100 of a metre


1/1000 of a metre



100 ares


10 ares


100 square metres

Square metre

An area equal to that of a square each side of which measures one metre

Square decimetre

1/100 square metre

Square centimetre

1/100 square decimetre

Square millimetre

1/100 square centimetre


Cubic metre

A volume equal to that of a cube each edge of which measures one metre

Cubic decimetre

1/1000 cubic metre

Cubic centimetre

1/1000 cubic decimetre


A cubic decimetre


1/10 litre


1/100 litre


1/1000 litre


100 litres



1000 kilograms




1/10 kilogram


1/1000 kilogram

Carat (metric)

1/5 gram


1/1000 gram

The USA and UK

With the switch of the UK to the metric system (although not completely), only the USA still uses the weights and measures system it inherited from Britain. However, although some American measures have the same name as old English measures, they’re not the same…

  • The American pint has 16 fluid ounces whereas the UK pint has 20 fluid ounces  (US=473.176473 ml UK=568.26125 ml)
    Note: this is especially important to note when ordering a beer!
  • The American gallon has 8 pints as does the UK but the measure is different
  • (US=3.785411784 Litres UK=4.54609 Litres)

People in Britain still commonly refer to the old traditional measurements though.

Here’s how to convert the metric system of weights and measures into their Imperial equivalents and vice versa:

Unit Conversion factor New Unit
inches 25.4 millimetres
millimetres 0.0394 inches
inches 2.54 centimetres
centimetres 0.3937 inches
feet 0.3048 metres
metres 3.281 feet
yards 0.9144 metres
metres 1.094 yards
miles 1.609 kilometres
kilometres 0.6214 miles
sq inches 6.452 sq centimetres
sq centimetres 0.155 sq inches
sq metres 10.76 sq feet
sq feet 0.0929 sq metres
sq yards 0.8361 sq metres
sq metres 1.196 sq yards
sq miles 2.589 sq kilometres
sq kilometres 0.3861 sq miles
acres 0.4047 hectares
hectares 2.471 acres
cu inches 16.39 cu centimetres
cu centimetres 0.06102 cu inches
cu feet 0.02832 cu metres
cu metres 35.315 cu feet
cu yards 0.7646 cu metres
cu metres 1.308 cu yards
cu inches 0.01639 litres
litres 61.03 cu inches
pints 0.5682 litres
litres 1.76 pints
US pints 0.47311 litres
litres 2.114 US pints
US gallon 3.785 liters
gallons 4.546 litres
litres 0.02642 US gallons
litres 0.22 gallons
grains 0.0648 grams
grams 15.43 grains
ounces 28.35 grams
grams 0.03527 ounces
pounds 453.6 grams
grams 0.002205 pounds
pounds 0.4536 kilograms
kilograms 2.205 pounds
tons 1016.05 kilograms
kilograms 0.0009842 tons

Metric measurements in the UK and US are the same.

Find out French Weights and Measures equivalents in your country: Dictionary of Units

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