I noticed on a bistrot's price board, this symbol was used to denote prices. It looks a little bit like an upside-down V, and the closest match shapecatcher.com could find was . It could also be compared to a segment of a sawtooth wave.

An example of prices from an image of the menu at Brasserie Lola follows (since it’s not my image, I can’t share it):

Entree 1  –  €5–
Entree 2  –  €7–
Plat 1  –  ⩘4,5.
Plat 2  –  ⩘3,5.

enter image description here

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 3:18
  • 4
    This picture just begs for more questions. What, for instance, are those letters that look like Γ, +, and ω? Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 9:17
  • 3
    @DmitryGrigoryev I cannot understand what you're referring to. To me it seems like completely normal handwriting (and even the 1 feels different from the description the OP gave). For the record the first line is rolles , the second is aux girolles the third is [c]éleri truffe and the third is [po]mmes vertes. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 9:29
  • 4
    @DenisNardin What's the unicode character for sarcasm? Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 9:35
  • 1
    @DmitryGrigoryev it's "/s"
    – Puck
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 12:06

4 Answers 4


It's the number one, with a left-hand stroke, and is not uncommon in European countries, including France.

This from Wikipedia on Regional Handwriting Variation, (including the illustration):

The numeral 1 — This numeral is sometimes written with a serif at the top extending downward and to the left. People in some parts of Europe extend this stroke nearly the whole distance to the baseline. It is sometimes written with horizontal serifs at the base; without them it can resemble the shape of the numeral 7, which has a near-vertical stroke without a crossbar, and a shorter horizontal top stroke. This numeral is often written as a plain vertical line without an ear at the top; this form is easily confused with the capital letter I and with the lower-case letter L.

enter image description here

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 4:47
  • 13
    Seven, in most countries, DOES have a cross-bar.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 10:29
  • In casually-written German, e.g. on menu blackboards like this, I've even seen the "serif" (as this article calls it) extend below the baseline. Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 23:27

It's just the number "one". It's not a French specificity, in continental Europe (and in most countries with (Continental) European influence) we (almost) never handwrite the number "1" as "I" like english-speaking people do. Also, we usually handwrite 7 with a middle bar so there is no mistaking possible.

  • 4
    Not so wrong - I've been to several countries in Europe, South America and Asia, and the first time I saw yhe number 1 handwritten like "I" was when I travelled to Australia.
    – chelmix
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 10:09
  • It may be a European specialty but not specifically parisian or french
    – chelmix
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 10:11
  • This answer is not wrong, but it is an exxageration: we always handwrite 7 with a middle bar is definitely too strong.
    – user40521
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 13:22
  • Right, changed "always" to "usually"
    – chelmix
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 13:40
  • 3
    @Willeke - like where? I've literally never seen 1 written as I in my whole life traveling Europe.
    – Davor
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 16:01

Because the writing of numbers varies between anglophone and continental countries, I have written down the different variation of numbers I myself encountered in Europe (The third 6 is a write error):

enter image description here

As you can see, most of the problems arise with 1, 4, 6, 7 and 9.

The first column is how I personally write the numbers (German).

Both 1 and 4 can have a underscore.
As you also see, some numbers like 1, 2 and 4 have sweeps if you write with pen.
Both 6 and 9 can end vertically, with can cause the 6 look like b.
7 has always a horizontal bar.
The third 9 has a vertical extension above on the right side of the circle, I hope it is prominent enough.

If someone has also a notable variation, I can add it later to the paper.

  • 1
    As an American who has traveled a number of times to Europe and Asia, all of these look reasonably normal to me except the 4 with an underscore. I don't think I've ever seen that in the wild before, and if I saw it without context, I would not have understood it. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 8:29
  • @GrandOpener 4 with the underscore is for when it is easily misread as 9. When I hand-write 4's they can look like 9s... ( rightmost 4 is close to the handmotion I use, yet the result of mine is better...) which in sloppy cases look a bit like the center 9.
    – Stian
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 11:41
  • @StianYttervik I don't doubt that it exists--some of the handwriting I've seen in Asia has been truly bizarre (9 drawn like a lollipop with the bar coming down from the middle of the circle stands out in my memory as one of the weirder ones). I suppose the underline 4 must be somewhat rare or regional though--I've honestly never seen it despite recognizing all the others. (FWIW I personally was taught the 4 with the open top, so I don't have that problem.) Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 14:14

This PDF looks to me like standard French school-writing.

Here's an copy-and-paste of what it says the hand-written numbers should look like:

enter image description here

So you're seeing a (quite well-formed) 1 -- the photograph in the question shows the ascender on the left (correctly) starting about half-way-up.

enter image description here

... which I find easy to recognise as a 1 (and a good argument for requiring a cross-bar on the 7, to disambiguate it).

I don't know what character you used to represent that in type, i.e. "⩘" ... I didnt recognise that as a 1 because the ascender starts at the bottom of the line.

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