This article is considered accurate for the current version of the game.
- +20% National manpower modifier
- +1 Diplomatic relations
- +15% Income from vassals
- -10% Diplomatic annexation cost
- +20% Morale of armies
- +10% National tax modifier
- Native attacks are severely reduced.
- +100% Tax and manpower from natives
- +30% Fort defense
- -10% Technology cost
- +2 Tolerance of heretics
- +2 Tolerance of heathens
- +5% Discipline
"I am the state" - Louis XIV of France (1638 - 1715)
France is a kingdom located in Western Europe, on the French Region, and is one of (if not the) most interesting and entertaining nations to play as in EUIV due to its quite overpowered (albeit historical) military. France allows for the player to make mistakes with usually limited consequences due to its military and sheer size, taking down France as an outside nation can be difficult, but not impossible. In 1444, it borders Burgundy to the north and east, England to the north and west, Aragon to the south, Savoy to the east and a large number of minor nations all around.
France starts out having five vassals: Armagnac, Auvergne, Bourbonnais, Foix and Orleans, as well as an independence guarantee to Scotland. This means the player is at their maximum diplomatic relations limit at the start and can only form additional alliances by taking a hit to diplomatic point generation or by revoking some of the current vassalage or guarantee.
In addition, France also starts in the midst of the Hundred Years' War with England, with a large army already raised. (28 regiments) By contrast, England has 9 and 8 regiments stationed in Normandy and Gascogne respectively. Defeating the outnumbered English army should be relatively straightforward, though the player might not be able to reach the home isles due to an inferior navy.
- 1 Missions
- 2 Events
- 3 Form French Nation
- 4 Decisions
- 5 Strategy
- Main article: French missions
French missions are focused around uniting the myriad states in France itself, interfering in the Holy Roman Empire, defeating the English and colonizing America.
- Main article: French events
Wars of Religion
The rise of Protestantism in Europe led to three decades of civil war within France known as The Wars of Religion. This event can occur between 1550 and 1570 if less than 80% of the country has the state religion. Rival Catholic nations can form La Ligue Catholique, a major player in the French Wars of Religion, directed at the eradication of Protestants in France. The League was used not only to defend the Catholic cause, but also as a political tool in an attempt to usurp the French throne.
The formation of the La Ligue Catholique will decrease relations with Catholic nations and give qualifying neighboring powers a casus belli to restore the one true faith!
Palace of Versailles
Around 1650, the player will be presented with the choice, through an event, to begin construction of the Palace of Versailles. A high initial cost to set the construction in motion, as well as a temporary but lengthy tax cut, can be a very costly procedure, where several loans might be required. However, finishing the Palace of Versailles will give France the desired model of kingly ruling, and as long as the Palace remains, France will benefit from yearly prestige and legitimacy.
The French Revolution & Napoleon
This event can occur after 1750 if the French economy is on its knees or is suffering from high War Exhaustion and the probability of the event chain firing is increased if demands for economic and social reforms have been turned down. This event chain can create revolts, uprisings and even the overthrow of the monarchy!
(This should be a disaster, but as of 1.11.3 Paradox has yet to adapt it into one and it's still an event chain.)
Form French Nation
France is a French cultural union, a formable country should France or its revolutionary counterpart cease to exist.
This year will mark the beginning of an evolutionary period for our nation. The old feudal ways will begin to make way for a more modern centralized nation. Although struggling financially due to miscalculated projects and military campaigns, we have managed to transform ourselves into one of the most dominant powers of Europe.
Some of France's decisions are shared with Revolutionary France.
The land around the small village of Versailles has long been excellent hunting land, the small hunting lodge has steadily been augmented into a grand looking chateau. Is it not now fitting to make this the seat of the French government?
Granted the right to rule by the grace of God and God alone we should not allow our God given rights to limited by other, lesser, men.
The realm was so torn by innumerable factions and sects that the most legitimate of all the parties was fewest in numbers. God has given us strength to stand out against this storm, we have finally surmounted the waves and made our port of safety, -- peace for our state.
We have determined that we can do nothing better than entirely revoke the said Edict of Nantes, with the special articles granted as a sequel to it, as well as all that has since been done in favor of the said religion.
As France is largely invincible directly on the land, due to their ideas, which give them increased manpower, morale, and discipline, influence or diplomacy ideas are a good idea group to start with. They can allow France to more easily absorb vassals, quicker, and further reduce the aggressiveness of any wars in which France has participated. France's powerful position allows it to choose very different paths to play, whether a colonial or land power or trade game, and so this should be kept in mind.
If a colonial game is desired, France may benefit more from going after Africa, as their fifth national idea is to reduce the aggressiveness of natives, and in Africa this is more likely to come to help. As African lands are generally quite poor, and will be counted as distant overseas unless the player conquers the entire Mediterranean to link Paris to Africa, it may be a good idea to add these provinces to trade companies to get some use out of them. A more viable option may be to colonize the wealthy lands of America, especially as the provinces in South America (and in particular, the Andes Mountains) are quite likely to produce gold. You can also vassalize/release as vassal some countries from the second rank of colonizers (Brittany, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands or Norway), they colonize usually Northern America and put these lands (which would be otherwise colonized most probably by England) under you control. They will help you also in colonial wars against English/Castile's/Portuguese colonial nations. Similar approach may be used with Portugal - ally them early and try to get them under personal union. England and Castile are usually French rivals from the early start of game. You will have 7 diplomatic relation slots if you choose Expansion idea group and build Embassy building, so should be able to maintain the colonizing vassals and also few allies. If you want to get another advantages in colonization race, you can choose Exploration, Expansion and Quantity idea groups and choose theirs national policies once completed (Colonial Expansion and The Colonial Settlement Act) which grant you totally +1 colonist and +30 yearly population growth. Another useful group for colonizer is Religious. Even when choosing a colonizer strategy, France should be capable to expand also in Europe - either into HRE when the right moment is chosen or into Spain/British lands.
If a continental game is desired, France is also capable of expansion into the Holy Roman Empire, and may even become the Holy Roman Emperor by vassalizing the electors and forcing Austria to its knees (or can ally with them and wait 100 years to take the throne by converting to Protestantism). Castile may serve as an excellent ally, although the player should keep in mind that they will likely not join in wars against Burgundy and sometimes England, as they are often friendly towards those two. It should also be noted that Castile receives an event to receive a personal union over Aragon, one of their rivals, which may lead to them filling that empty rival slot with France. Denmark may also serve as a good ally if they manage to integrate Sweden and Norway, as they frequently dislike England. Against the Emperor, both Hungary and Bohemia are powerful allies, and if Poland keeps their personal union with Lithuania, they can be another formidable ally.
Finally, if one wishes to have a trade game; they have the powerful French economy and lands to fund an absolutely massive navy, whilst they have the powerful French army to allow them to remain in safety, while their ships manage to take over the trade nodes of the world.
- See also: Idea groups
Initially, France will want to reserve some administrative and military monarch power for technology upgrades:
- Administrative points: will need ADM points to reach level 7 and unlock the second idea group
- Military points: the first few Military technology upgrades are quite important for warfare
A decent first idea is the diplomatic idea group; the extra diplomats and relations will help France manage its vassals and consume fragments of perishing Burgundy. The influence idea group can achieve much of the same, however, and will not decline in importance as you grow stronger, which is the case with diplomatic ideas. That said, the economic idea group (ADM) can be a viable selection due to France's large number of provinces in which to build infrastructure, although it is likely a better idea to take a diplomatic idea group, as administrative technology is more important early on.
France's second idea should probably be the offensive idea group; it is a powerful idea group for France, which usually relies upon its armies.
Hundred years war
The Hundred Years' War is very easy for France to win. The player has a large group of troops in Paris, and can easily use them to defeat the English troops nearby in Caux, especially with the excellent generals that the player has. Note, however, that 3 of the generals should be fired, as they cost 3 military points a month for being above the free leader limit. The English navy is near invincible when compared to the French one, and so it is almost impossible to land upon the British Isles in safety. Therefore, it is usually a good strategy in the long run to release Wales, Cornwall or Northumbria to provide a beachhead for future invasions of England, as the player can diplomatically vassalize them. If the player does not wish to interfere in English affairs, however, it is possible to take a couple of your cores, and save the rest for the next war. Try to get Calais and Caux already in the first war, otherwise these will probably become a target of Burgundy soon
Burgundy is a major contender against France's army, and so it is generally wise to send a French diplomat to begin improving France's relationship with Burgundy near the beginning. It may be beneficial to try to force the Valois dynasty on Burgundy, and attempt to force a personal union on the country before the shattering Burgundy Inheritance event can occur.
If you are in war with Burgundy, try to earn as much warscore as possibly by sieging of provinces which would not devolve to you in case of Burgundy Inheritance. When Burgundy Inheritance event happens, before choosing any option call peace with Burgundy and get some of these provinces or release countries which have cores there. Only then choose option to get your rightful provinces. This way you decrease the amount of lands which would become part of (most probably) Austria, your biggest enemy after fall of Burgundy. The released countries will be easy targets for diplomatic vassalization too.
Becoming Holy Roman Emperor
If the player wishes, France may easily become the Holy Roman Emperor within a few years of the game's start. This is done by offering a royal marriage to Bohemia. As they start out with a regency council for nobody in particular, within a year of the game's start a member of the de Valois dynasty should appear on their throne, allowing the player to claim it and go to war with Bohemia, dragging Austria, along with their allies which likely include several electors, allowing France to become the Emperor after the current one dies. Note that if the King of Burgundy dies while France is the emperor, France immediately inherits all of Burgundy, becoming the most powerful country in the world (although perhaps behind Ming). As the King of Burgundy is more likely to die when Burgundy is losing a war, it may be a good idea to declare war on Burgundy and fully occupy them until France inherits them.
An Alternative way of Annexing your Vassals
This is no longer viable since patch Patch 1.11: 'Cancelling a vassal (either via diplomacy or war) now removes all cores and claims the overlord has on that vassal.' Also you take a prestige hit of -25 for each vassal. The only way to do this is to goad your vassals into declaring a war for independence, make sure they don't decisively win and then offer independence.
As France you start with 5 vassals, owning a total of 6 provinces, diplomatically annexing these countries would result in a loss of 280 diplomatic points at the least (28 base tax * 10), if the player were to play the longer game he could pick Influence ideas first and get the first 3 ideas for the annexation cost decrease from both the idea and the French ideas, which would reduce the total cost by about 35%. However looking at each and every single one of the provinces owned by your vassals, you may notice something: You have Cores on all of the provinces. So why waste dozens of diplomatic points on an idea group that becomes less useful then many of the others you could have taken in replacement for it, at some point during the Hundred Year War just break the vassalization of the minor states. It will mean a temporary loss of income, but it will prevent the loss of up to 1500 diplomatic points spend on annexing and not losing any Diplomatic Reputation and only a minor amount of Aggressive Expansion.