Summary One hundred unrelated individuals of French origin were screened for mtDNA variation as restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) with the restriction enzymes HpaI, BamHI, HaeII, MspI, AvaII and HincII. Twenty enzyme morphs were detected, four of which (AvaII-37 Fr, −38 Fr, HincII-18 Fr and −19 Fr) are new. Of the 17 mitotypes detected, five are new and they were named 1–19 Fr, 6–18 Fr, 100 Fr-2 (2-1-2-4-1-2), 101 Fr-2 (2-1-1-1 -38 Fr-2) and 102 Fr-2 (2-1-1-4-37 Fr-2). All new morphs and mitotypes derive from those already known due to a single nucleotide substitution. The French population was compared with other European, Mediterranean and Caucasian populations. Calculation of the genetic distances showed close genetic affinity with European-Mediterranean populations and especially with Calabrians, Majorcans and northern Italians (at negative values).