The deal had been on hold because of a row between the EU and outside countries over carbon emissions tax on flights.
The breakthrough came during a state visit to France by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.
The order includes 27 long-haul A330s and 43 smaller A320 planes.
China also signed a new 10-year agreement allowing Airbus to continue building planes in the northern city of Tianjin until 2025.
Earlier, Airbus' helicopter division announced a deal to provide 1,000 civilian helicopters to China over the next 20 years.
The three biggest European economies, Germany, France and the UK, have all been clamouring to improve their trade links with China.
Last year, France had a trade deficit with China of about 26bn euros (£22bn), which accounts for approximately 40% of France's total foreign trade deficit.
French president Francois Hollande told his Chinese counterpart that he wanted to "re-balance trade between our two countries".
Aerospace already accounts for 29% of French exports to China.
A fifth of Airbus's global production takes place on the Chinese mainland.
China and France also signed 50 trade agreements in a number of other areas, including the nuclear, financial and automotive sectors.