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The French people represent a civilization in Civilization VI. They are led by Catherine de Medici, under whom their default colors are blue and light yellow; Eleanor of Aquitaine (with Gathering Storm), under whom their default colors are pink and light yellow; and Magnificence Catherine, under whom their default colors are white and olive.

The French civilization ability is Grand Tour, which gives them +20% Production Production towards Medieval, Renaissance, and Industrial era wonders and doubles Tourism Tourism from wonders of any era. Their unique unit is the Garde Impériale (which replaces the Line Infantry), and their unique tile improvement is the Château.


Starting bias: Tier 3 towards Rivers

France, under either Eleanor or Catherine, is still quite focused on a Cultural Victory. As a matter of fact, this is one of the simplest and most straightforward cultural civilizations, especially when led by Catherine de Medici, so it is suitable for newer players to try out and get used to the Cultural Victory path.

Grand Tour[]

Extra Production Production towards mid-game Wonders[]

Another wonder-focused ability, Grand Tour shares more similarities with Egypt's Iteru than with Qin Shi Huang's First Emperor, as it gives a percentage to cities' Production Production when they are constructing wonders. However, Grand Tour comes with its own restrictions as well as advantages: its Production Production bonus only applies to Medieval to Industrial wonders, but there is no restriction of wonder placement for the bonus to kick in. Since France focuses on a cultural game, a few wonders they should prioritize in this time are:

  • Great Zimbabwe: Not a straightforward cultural wonder, but no one would scoff at an extra Trade Route Trade Route, especially when combined with Great Merchants like Sarah Breedlove and Melitta Bentz (this Wonder also helps with competing in the Great Merchant race) plus the Online Communities policy card.
  • Forbidden City: One of the best wonders in the game, so versatile that it is a brilliant addition that any empire can use.
  • R&F-Only Taj Mahal: An alright wonder but pretty good with the French. Earning Golden Ages is easier with it, allowing the French to earn the Dedication Wish You Were Here a bit more consistently. This Dedication allows a total of 150% extra Tourism Tourism from Wonders. However, if you believe that you are in the front seat and can earn Golden Ages quite easily, ignore this Wonder.
  • Hermitage: A purely cultural wonder that helps earn Great Artist Great Artists faster. This Wonder is weak, so don't go out of your way for it. The fact that you build Theater Squares en masse means you will earn Great Artist Great Artists pretty quickly already. Its only selling point is the 4 slots of Landscape Great Works of Art, but Wonders are non-themeable for everyone except for Kristina, so it is not the best investment for a whopping 1450 Production Production. Only consider this Wonder if you are able to build it in your main cultural hub, where the Governor with the Curator promotion is assigned (Reyna in Rise and Fall or Pingala in Gathering Storm).
  • Bolshoi Theater: An even stronger cultural wonder, as it has a rare Great Work of Music Great Work of Music slot, and helps earn Great Musician Great Musicians faster as well. If you can only build either the Hermitage or the Bolshoi Theater, prioritize the Bolshoi Theater - Great Musician Great Musicians and the Great Work of Music Great Work of Music slot are generally more powerful later in the game.
  • Big Ben: A boost to your treasury is always welcome. Most importantly, it gives you an extra Economic policy slot, where all of the Tourism Tourism-boosting policies can be put. An absolute must, even situationally more important than the purely cultural wonders. And of course, it makes recruiting Sarah Breedlove and Melitta Bentz easier.
  • Oxford University and Ruhr Valley: These two wonders do not directly lead you to a Cultural Victory, but are worth considering if you want a strong scientific backup route. If you have time and Production Production, try to build them. They are arguably more useful than the Hermitage, even when you try to push for a Cultural Victory, as they help you advance scientifically faster and build wonders like the Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, and Sydney Opera House when Grand Tour's Production Production bonus is no longer active. Oxford University also offers +2 Great Work of Writing Great Works of Writing slots, which is nice, but not game-changing by any means.

Of course, straightforward civilizations like the French often meet their downfall when their only preferred victory path is hindered, so it is always useful to have a backup. The best backup routes for the French are scientific (focus on Ruhr Valley and Oxford University, as outlined above) and diplomatic (focus on Országház and Statue of Liberty), considering the passive and defensive nature of cultural civilizations on the whole and the Garde Impériale in particular. Religious Victory is weird, since having a religion is nice and France can build midgame religious wonders but they don't want to build too many Holy Sites, and most importantly, spreading your religion can provoke unwanted animosity when all you want to do is to develop your Culture Culture in peace.

Extra Tourism Tourism from Wonders[]

All wonders have a base Tourism Tourism yield of 2, which increases by 1 every time you enter a new era through technology or civic research (this is independent of the current world era), so early wonders always have higher Tourism Tourism potential than later wonders. For example, the Great Bath, an Ancient Era wonder, will start generating 2 Tourism Tourism per turn when built; however, after you research the first technology or civic of the Classical Era, it will generate 3 Tourism Tourism per turn instead, increasing to 4 Tourism Tourism per turn when a Medieval technology or civic is researched, and so on. If you successfully build a wonder of a past era, this has no effect on its Tourism Tourism yield, so if the Great Bath is built when you have already researched a Classical Era technology or civic, it still generates 3 Tourism Tourism per turn like normal. Therefore, this ability helps French mid-game wonders keep up with the Tourism Tourism output of earlier wonders, and even exceed these Ancient and Classical Era wonders just a few eras later. All French wonders will start generating 4 Tourism Tourism per turn and gain a +2 Tourism Tourism bonus with each passing era, making their wonder pursuit even more worthwhile on their path to a Cultural Victory.

Catherine's Flying Squadron (Black Queen Catherine)[]

Free Spy with Castles[]

Espionage is the name of the game when Catherine de Medici leads the French, and she is truly the queen at it. Spies are getting stronger and more vital than ever, as every expansion adds at least one or two new tricks into their repertoire, opening up their possibilities to pretty much, well, anything. Having the first possible Spy in the game is actually much more important than it sounds, as it is synonymous to the fact that there is no counterplay to your espionage besides sheer luck. The first Spy a standard civilization can have is unlocked with Diplomatic Service, a Renaissance Era civic. This means that Science Science-focused civilizations (e.g., Korea, Australia, Arabia, Sumeria) unlock their first Spy long after you have yours, making them prime targets from which to steal tech boosts. You can pretty much warrant your Scientific Victory backup just by stealing from your neighbors. You have a competitor in gathering Great Works? Have a Spy steal from them. A civilization is dominating in relationships with city-states? Send a Spy to Fabricate Scandals. Your neighbor is having Loyalty issues? Neutralize Governors and Foment Unrest can bring their cities under your control faster. Someone is attempting to venture into space? A Spy with the Rocket Scientist promotion can quickly solve the problem. Just want to be an incessant annoyance and as mean as possible? Run Recruit Partisans on repeat. The possibilities are many. This is a truly terrifying ability whose impact is often underrated.

Spies start with a free Promotion Promotion[]

Not only is Catherine able to earn the first Spy in the game at Castles and have more Spies than anyone else, her Spies start with a Promotion Promotion. This promotion allows her Spies to save a few turns of running Gain Sources, or have to delay harder missions (e.g., Steal Great Works, Disrupt Rocketry, Steal Tech Boost) to undertake easier, less important missions to level up (e.g., Foment Unrest, Siphon Funds). Thus, Catherine will still be tough to beat well after other civilizations have Spies of their own.

Because of this, the Intelligence Agency is the obvious choice for Catherine de Medici. The free Spy will also receive a free Promotion Promotion, and it will make her high capability at espionage even greater.

Extra Visibility Diplomatic Visibility[]

Other cultural civilizations are afraid of warmongers, as they are often ill-equipped to defend themselves. Not France, especially under Catherine: against the AI, the Gossip system will keep them well-informed about what their neighbors are up to. Also, Catherine's extensive Spy network and the military implications of the flat extra level of Visibility Diplomatic Visibility ensure that the French army will almost always have the upper hand from intelligence against their invaders.

Catherine's Magnificences (Magnificence Catherine)[]

Can perform Court Festivals in cities with Theater Squares[]

The true power of this ability lies very much in the Court Festival project. It takes into account every Luxury Catherine currently owns, including the ones traded to her and the ones in her tributary city-states. When finished, the project grants 50 Culture Culture and 50 Tourism Tourism for every copy of a Luxury. The burst of Tourism Tourism applies to every civilization in the game, including ones she has not met yet, which can allow her to win a Cultural Victory extremely quickly on a Large or Huge map with a lot of players even without meeting everyone. Amassing Luxuries, therefore, is the name of the game for Catherine. The only requirement for this project is the Theater Square district, so you will want it to be built as soon as possible in every city. In order to keep the 40% district discount for as long as possible, just do not research technologies that unlock a new district for as long as you can. (Read more here.)

Bonus Culture Culture from Luxury Resources if next to Theater Squares or Châteaux[]

The crux of playing a Cultural Victory as Magnificence Catherine is to achieve it in the quickest way possible, so that extra Culture Culture on improved Luxuries is a nice touch, but you do not need to go out of your way to maximize it. It is important you collect as many types of Luxuries as you can; building Theater Squares next to them is much less important. The extra Culture Culture also provides Tourism Tourism for Mines and Plantations that improve Luxury Resources.

Court of Love (Eleanor of Aquitaine)[]

Court of Love is a weird ability since it is impossible to evaluate its power level in a vacuum: it ranges from completely useless to totally broken. The reason for this is that this ability, in nature, is very similar to a game of conquest. It is all about snowballing: once you are able to conquer one neighbor city, it will trigger a domino effect to every nearby one. The main difference between Court of Love and a traditional warmongering ability is that it is utterly passive, and you need a whole lot of luck for certain factors to align perfectly in your favor to get this snowball rolling. In a true warmongering situation, on the other hand, you can just amass your army and use strategies to run your neighbors over (which can be totally controlled by you).

The following factors affect this ability's efficacy:

  • How fast you can accrue Great Works.
  • Your neighbor needs to be in a worse Age than you (or at least the same Age). While you can control what Age you will receive (for the most parts), you cannot decide that for the enemy.
  • Citizen Population size of the neighboring cities. The bigger they are, the harder it is to Loyalty-flip them. If you happen to spawn next to civilizations with a tendency of going tall (Khmer, India, etc.), you are just out of luck.
  • In order to successfully flip one city to trigger a domino effect, you will need to surround the enemy empire with your cities, which is considered as a transgression and may trigger an unwanted war even before your Loyalty pressure starts to kick in. As a cultural civilization, you most likely just want to stay away from war since you do not like building a large army.
  • Who your neighbors are is also an important factor. There are civilizations that come with an innate bonus to Loyalty that making loyalty flipping their cities onerous, or downright impossible. They are England (when playing as French Eleanor, with their +4 Loyalty from the Royal Navy Dockyard), the Netherlands (+1 Loyalty from Trade Route Trade Routes), Persia (+5 Loyalty from occupied cities with a garrisoned unit), Spain (+2 Loyalty to cities on foreign continents with a Mission next to the City Center), and the Zulus (+3 Loyalty in cities with a garrisoned unit, +5 Loyalty if cities garrisoned by a Corps/Army). The worst neighbors you can have as Eleanor, however, are Phoenicia and the Ottomans, since both of these civilizations have the ability to negate Loyalty pressure completely.
  • This ability can only work in single player games, and works wonders when it does. In multiplayer games, human players are much more intelligent in terms of dealing with Loyalty pressure; they are less bound by warmongering penalties or Grievances Grievances, so they will just wage war on you if your empire poses a threat to theirs. The best you can get out of this ability is to force other players to put Governors where they do not want to balance the Loyalty pressure, or to spread Governor titles out to many Governors instead of spending many titles on one.

Nonetheless, there are certain measures you can take - not enough to ensure the odds will always be in your favor, but they can definitely help your peaceful conquest:

  • Build Entertainment Complexes and run Bread and Circuses. This is a kind of high risk, high reward play. When you surround enemy cities with your own cities in which Entertainment Complexes are built, you can run Bread and Circuses at the same time in all of them to exert a large wave of Loyalty pressure. If it works, great, your snowball has started to roll; if it doesn't, well, basically you shoot yourself in the foot. Entertainment Complexes are still the weakest specialty district in the game, and while you may want to build only one for the Colosseum, having to expend Production Production not only to build them but to run their equally unimpactful projects without getting anything in return can just ruin your gameplay and set you back a ton. Definitely not something you would want to do in a multiplayer game since, again, human players can deal with this with relative ease. In single player, only attempt this when you are in or anticipate a better Age than your neighbor, or they have forward-settled next to you and now their cities are dwindling. Never attempt this when their cities are full Loyalty and exerting a high amount of pressure, as it is suicidal.
  • Your most valuable asset: Spies. Neutralize Governor and Foment Unrest are the two missions to focus on. Aim for Diplomatic Service and build the Intelligence Agency, as this is the fastest way to earn the first 2 Spies; send both of them to a nearby city and run both of these missions together. Foment Unrest can be run on repeat. This is more effective when the enemy has a worse Age than you, most ideally if they are in a Dark Age and you are in a Golden Age. If your Age is not favorable to you, it is better to run other traditional missions, like Steal Great Works or Steal Tech Boosts; otherwise it will feel like a Sisyphean task.
  • Always try for a Golden Age. This goes without saying, since when you cannot control what Age your neighbor will get, you can (relatively) control what Age you will get, and it is important for Eleanor to be in a Golden Age, since the worst case scenario, the enemy may just have a similar age, not better, so your Great Work loyalty pressure can kick in. The Taj Mahal can be a great Wonder, as it is supported by the Grand Tour ability and helps you earn Golden Ages reliably.
  • Earn Great Works (duh!). This goes without saying as well, since this is the core of your power. However, consider this paradox: Genghis Khan can be as "cultured" as Eleanor if he builds Theater Squares en masse, meaning Eleanor has an interesting incentive to accrue Great Works, yet has absolutely no upper hand in getting them compared to any non-cultural power. Therefore, any edge you can create for yourself in the race of earning Great Person Great People is greatly appreciated. The easiest combo is Ancestral Hall + Colonization to go wide, plus the City Patron Goddess (preferably) or Divine Spark pantheon and build a Theater Square first and foremost in every city. Of course, you can go for other more extravagant strategies like Holy Sites + Oracle + Divine Spark + Pingala (Grants promotion), which is also extremely strong if you can get your hands on the Oracle. City Patron Goddess is more reliable than the Divine Spark strategy because you do not have to rely on the possibility of getting a certain Wonder, and City Patron Goddess is unlikely to be picked up by the AI; also, faster Theater Square construction benefits all types of Great Works, not just Great Work of Writing Great Works of Writing. Or if you cannot earn Great Works yourself, you can buy them off from the AI at a reasonable price.

Overall, Eleanor of Aquitaine is not as good of a leader as Catherine de Medici, as her ability is too unreliable in single player and can be borderline useless in multiplayer. It requires either a risky setup or too many lucky factors to align.


The Château has improved greatly since the April 2021 Update but still manages to be somewhat underwhelming as a unique improvement. It is stuck in a spot similar to other improvements with lax restrictions: it can be built almost anywhere, but going overboard with it can stunt the city's growth and productivity, as it provides no Housing Housing, Food Food, or Production Production. The arrival of this improvement complicates the matter even further, since it is unlocked around the same time France needs to focus on Production Production to make use of their civilization ability.

The Château functions similarly to the Sphinx: both provide Culture Culture, Tourism Tourism, and Appeal bonuses, can be built on most terrain (including Floodplains), can't be built adjacent to an identical improvement, and get bonuses from adjacent wonders. The Château, however, is unlocked later than the Sphinx, provides 1 less Appeal in Gathering Storm, provides Gold Gold rather than Faith Faith, and has resource-adjacency restriction, but has multiple wonder-adjacency bonus like a Theater Square and provides more Culture Culture and Tourism Tourism, which works better towards a Cultural Victory. Magnificence Catherine is a little better at using this improvement since all her improved luxury resources next to a Château will receive 2 Culture Culture; however, the catch here is that Magnificence Catherine's expensive unique project makes her even more Production Production-hungry than Black Queen Catherine or Eleanor, so she has even more things to consider when deciding if it is wise to fill all empty tiles with Châteaux.

Later in the game when Production Production is easy to come by (and especially after unlocking Flight), the Château is worth building on any tile with both a resource and either a wonder or River. However, it isn't strong enough to win a game on its own - you will need to focus on France's other bonuses for that.

Garde Impériale[]

France is a Culture Culture-driven civilization, and as everyone knows you have to be able to defend yourself to win. Since the Garde Impériale gets a combat bonus when fighting on your home continent, it makes an amazing defensive troop. The best strategy for these guys is to make one for each city and a few extra as support. If anyone tries to attack you, spread out your extra troops to the areas most in need of help and make sure your Capital Capital is well defended. Every time you successfully kill an enemy, you will gain Great General Great General points which will allow you to recruit a Great General to aid you in defense.

Of course, the Garde Impériale's special combat bonus is active not only in your lands, but on your entire home continent. This gives the French player some...interesting opportunities for expansion. An aggressive neighbor aspiring to smash the weak culturally-oriented civ that only thinks about wonders and Great Works will hardly expect a devastating retaliatory strike with a newly-earned Great General!

Victory Types[]

Under either Catherine or Eleanor, France is a cultural civilization through and through, despite some slight differences in playstyle. You should have yourself a backup route just in case your cultural path is hindered. This backup route can be greatly facilitated by the Wonders you choose to build in the midgame.

Counter Strategy[]

France is very much defined by which leader they have; they have three (counting Catherine's personas separately) to choose from, and although they all aim toward a Cultural Victory, how they go there has a lot of variations.

Catherine de Medici (Black Queen)[]

Arguably the most reliable choice of leaders, the Black Queen relies heavily on espionage to get things done. In the Medieval Era/Renaissance Era when Spies are unlocked, you can never truly match her espionage prowess since she will have more Spies than you, and they all start with a free Promotion Promotion. When you find out Catherine is in your game, you should make some changes to how you settle cities and place District Districts. Closely settled cities with a lot of adjacent District Districts make counterespionage a lot easier. At this point in the game, the one District District Catherine is most likely to target is the Theater Square, so if you have any Great Works, you had better send a Spy to protect them.

Since Spies gain Promotion Promotions quickly and easily, Black Queen Catherine's head start with every Spy becomes less of an advantage as time goes by. Considering that she doesn't have any Production Production bonus towards Spies and France isn't a Production Production powerhouse, every French Spy you kill is a huge setback for her. It's even better if you manage to capture one instead: captured Spies still count toward her total and can't be sent on missions, so her espionage power suffers as long as you don't release them. The Ethiopia Pack even introduced the Diplomatic Quarter, a brand new District District dedicated to counterespionage that makes this job even easier.

Catherine de Medici (Magnificence)[]

Magnificence Catherine is only powerful because of her unique project, since the extra Culture Culture from developed Luxury tiles is meaningful but in no way game-changing. Furthermore, the Court Festival project relies heavily on how many Luxury Resources she can get her hands on, including developed Luxuries in her territory, Luxuries from her tributary city-states, and Luxuries traded to her. The only counterplay you have for this project is to deny Catherine's access to as many Luxuries as you can, since completing this project affects even civilizations which Catherine hasn't met. Fortunately, this isn't too hard to do: settling next to her to prevent her from expanding, competing with her for Suzerainty of or just straight up conquering her tributary city-states, not trading Luxuries with her, and pillaging her Luxuries all work very well. You can also limit the number of trading partners Catherine has by declaring a Joint War on her.

Eleanor of Aquitaine[]

Eleanor is the least reliable leader choice for France, since her bonus is rather random and way too passive. There isn't much she can do if things don't go the way she plans. If you're far away from Eleanor, she's the least of your problems, since her bonus won't do anything to you. If you spawn next to her, try your best to not give her anytime to establish her Tourism Tourism foothold. Eleanor doesn't have any bonus towards earning Great Works faster than a non-cultural civilization, so the early game is crucial to her. Most importantly, her defensive capabilities don't kick in until much later into the game, so feel free to wage wars on her to force her to build armies instead of infrastructure. Not to mention, human players (i.e., you) are much better at dealing with Loyalty pressure, so assigning Governors, counterespionage, or just the good old war declaration whenever her Loyalty pressure poses a threat can put a complete stop to Eleanor's power.

Civilopedia entry[]

The French brought civilization haute cuisine, haute couture, haute-contre, and a whole lot of other “hautes.” But the French are not just about culture; they also brought history the Hundred Years' War, the Reign of Terror, Napoleon’s efforts to conquer Europe, etc.

Once the Romans gave up trying to govern the unruly Gauls, a number of Frankish kingdoms rose during the early Dark Ages, most of these lasting but a couple generations. Finally, the medieval Kingdom of France emerged from the western portion of Charlemagne’s empire, that chunk known as West Francia. With the death of the last Carolingian king, to avoid the bloodshed of a dynastic civil war, the Archbishop of Reims convened the great lords of Francia to elect a new ruler. Duke Hugh Capet of the demesne Ile-de-France was eventually chosen as king, and crowned Rex Francorum by the prelate of Reims in July 987 AD. At one stroke, modern France was created and its longest reigning dynasty (from this date to 1848, with a few unfortunate interruptions) installed.

The long rule of the Capetians has several foundations. The Capetian kings were inevitably Catholic, although with widely varying piety, and hence closely allied with the Church, which favored a strong central government in France. The line came to be recognized by other monarchs (except those stubborn English) as illustrious and ancient, and therefore inherently superior to anyone else available. The Capetians also tended to enjoy fairly harmonious familial relations, exceptional when it came time for a succession. By tradition, the king’s younger brothers were given appanages (duchies, counties, towns and the like) to mitigate any lingering bitterness over the rule of primogeniture (of course, sisters didn’t get any such, and were usually married off as quickly as possible after a succession). Save for the religious in-fighting between the Catholics and the Huguenots, France managed to avoid the civil wars that plagued most of their neighbors. Trade, the arts and the crafts would flourish under them, as well as religion (well, Catholicism anyway) and education – the University of Paris, or Sorbonne, was founded c. 1150 – so they generally had the support of the common folk.

The next couple centuries would see the power and influence of the Capetians grow, although there were some missteps – such as getting involved in a half dozen Crusades to liberate the Holy Land, meddling in the squabbles of the Italian city-states, suppressing heretical movements in France (usually with a great deal of blood), slaughtering the Knights Templar in 1312 to seize their wealth, and, of course, the Hundred Years' War (which actually ran 116 years, but who’s counting).

As the fourteenth century (by European reckoning) dawned, France was the most powerful country on the continent. In 1328, Philip VI assumed the throne. The Plantagenets, kings of England, owned Aquitaine and had a slender claim to the French throne, which they hadn’t pressed at the time of Philip VI’s succession. However, in 1337 Philip VI confiscated Aquitaine, and the now thoroughly annoyed King Edward III of England reinstated his claim, bringing the two dynasties to war. In July 1346 Edward invaded and, after much marching about, won the famous “battle” (more a slaughter of the arrogant French knights) at Crecy and captured the port of Calais. Then the Black Death cropped up, and lots of folk died, delaying further campaigning – thoroughly vexing a new generation of nobles.

By 1356 the plague had passed so the bloodshed resumed. In September of that year, the French king managed to get himself captured and most of his nobles killed off at Poitiers against Edward, the Black Prince. (The French refused to pay their king’s ransom, and so John II died in captivity.) The war dragged on until Agincourt (yet another glorious slaughter), after which the Treaty of Troyes in 1420 declared the unification of the French and English crowns on the infant head of Henry VI, king of England and now France. This did not sit well with everyone. The dauphin Charles VII was declared illegitimate and bypassed, though many French patriots preferred any Frenchman to any English ruler. This included a strange (to put it mildly … she heard voices and experienced visions from God) peasant woman named Joan. Within a few years Joan of Arc had inspired the French to victory, driving the English back on all fronts. Charles was anointed king in 1429, and saintly Joan got burned at the stake.

The upshot of all this was that the House of Valois, a cadet branch of the Capetians, now sat on the throne of France. These later Capetians held more power and were considerably more influential than the previous ones. Whereas Philip I (the Amorous, 1060-1108) could barely control his unruly Parisian barons, the Bourbon (another cadet branch) Henry IV (1589-1610) could challenge both the Pope and the Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperor. These kings, although they usually ruled for shorter periods, had far more impact on the course of civilization than their predecessors.

During the reigns of the glorious Louis’s – XIII the Just, XIV the Sun King, XV the Beloved, the unfortunate XVI (the guillotined) – France became a power second to none on the continent, as well as the center of European culture and refinement. The XIIIth saw explorers and colonists spread or impose French tastes across the globe, in North Africa, the Americas and Asia as France joined the race for colonies. Under the long-reigning le Roi-Soleil, the last vestiges of feudalism disappeared (although the former serfs might not know it) and Versailles was completed (mostly). Great generals, such as Turenne and Vauban, and great writers, such as Molière and Racine, as well as those gifted in other artistic pursuits, flourished. Madam de Pompadour, one of the most famous mistresses of all time, had an enormous influence on the arts – notably architecture and interior design (those pricy Louis Quinze pieces) – under the doting patronage of Louis XV. France went from grim gothic to gilded rococo in two generations. But the Ancien Régime came crashing down in 1789.

Being somewhat distressed by the gap between the haves and have-nots, in that year the citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille in July and threw off the shackles of monarchy. Republicanism was afoot and revolution spread through the land. Inflamed by the concepts of liberté, égalité, fraternité and those nice young men Robespierre, Danton and Marat, they instituted the Reign of Terror, using the “humane” guillotine to execute thousands of the privileged and anyone else who ran afoul of the Committee for Public Safety. The Constitution of June 1793 established the French First Republic; most of its authors were later imprisoned or guillotined. The rest of the crown heads of Europe couldn’t have all these liberal ideas floating about, and in short order the First Coalition (Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, and Spain among others) attacked France.

In 1795 the elective five-member Directory was established to govern, but they didn’t fare so well. Building on his battlefield successes for the Republic, in a coup d’état in November 1799 that Corsican Napoleon Bonaparte removed the Directors and so launched the French First Empire. For the next decade-and-a-half, the French would battle successive coalitions (six in all), generally beating them soundly. But the sheer weight of forces arrayed against Napoleon was telling. On the fringes, in Iberia and Russia, France lost thousands of men. The ever stubborn British controlled the seas. Napoleon even had to sell Louisiana to the infant United States just to make ends meet. Finally, the Sixth Coalition, following the historic retreat from Russia, defeated the Grande Armée at Leipzig, entered Paris in March 1814, exiled Napoleon to Elba, and reinstalled the Bourbon Monarchy.

But all that didn’t last long. Bonaparte returned to France and raised yet another army. Louis XVIII, suffering from gout and having some sense, fled Paris to go into hiding in the Netherlands. The monarchs of Europe had to create yet another coalition, and after 100 days of excitement, routed the French at the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon was again shipped off to an island prison (where he eventually died in 1821 at the age of 51). France was a kingdom again … well at least until 1848. Yet another revolution, not much better organized than the first, overthrew the Capetians once and for all and established the Second Republic. Which lasted only three years until Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, following his uncle’s footsteps, overthrew those libertarians and so founded the Second French Empire.

And that in turn lasted only until 1870, when Napoleon III got himself captured by the Prussians at the Battle of Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War. The National Assembly was invaded by a Parisian mob, who demanded a change. The delegates, no fools, promptly created the Third Republic. The Empress fled for England and republicanism once again ran amok in France. They just couldn’t quite seem to get it right. (The Prussians, in the process, got Alsace-Lorraine and unified Germany … but that’s another story.)

The Third Republic did fairly well, all things considered. It made friends with England and Russia and the United States. It managed to solidify its grasp on the tattered remnants of its overseas colonial holdings. Decadent Paris became the world’s guilty pleasure; like moths to a flame, tourists flocked to the Moulin Rouge, the Left Bank, Le Crazy Horse Saloon and the Bal Bullier. The roots of avant-garde art flourished; the belle époque was in full swing. The French set the standards for fashions, foods and fads. France even managed to survive the First World War without another change in government, although the Pyrrhic victory left it devastated and impoverished.

Indeed, the Third Republic managed to survive until 1940, when replaced by the Vichy government, which filled up the part of France the Third Reich didn’t bother to occupy. After four brutal years, metropolitan France was liberated by the English and Americans – despite de Gaulle’s claims for the “Free French” forces – in summer and autumn 1944. By 1945 Nazi Germany was defeated; the Second World War was over. It was time for yet another government, this time the Fourth Republic, when a new constitution was adopted in October 1946.

The trigger for the collapse of the Fourth Republic (yes, another one) was the Algerian Crisis of 1958. Having been truly devastated by world war, the French leaders had spent even more blood trying to hang on to a decaying colonial empire, notably in Indo-China and in Algeria. The Suez Crisis in 1956 was yet another disaster for France. In May 1958, the National assembly brought de Gaulle back to power; he quickly dissolved the Fourth and created a Fifth, based on his “Politics of Grandeur,” declaring that grandeur was essential to the nature of France. And it’s been that way ever since.



Males Females Modern males Modern females
Alban Aalis Antoine Babette
Benoit Adélaide Armand Delphine
Christophe Blanche Claude Gabrielle
Corentin Céleste Dacey Honoré
Déodat Daphné Jerome Linette
Émeric Élise Marcel Noelle
Judicael Geneviève Orvil Odette
Laurent Jocelyne Percival Renée
Renaud Solange Tristan Severin
Yves Tiphaine Verne Yevette





CIVILIZATION VI - First Look- France

First Look: France

Related achievements[]

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
As Eleanor, gain a city to loyalty that was owned by a different civilization with Eleanor as its leader.
Lyrics from the song 'Won't Get Fooled Again' by The Who.
Majestrix of the Court of Love
Majestrix of the Court of Love
Win a game as Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor's court in Poitiers was believed to have been the 'Court of Love', where the ideas of courtly love, troubadors, and chivalry were encouraged.
Blackest Queen
Blackest Queen
As France, build an Intelligence Agency
A reference to Catherine's leader agenda, Black Queen, which focuses heavily on espionage.
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Create 5 Châteaux in one city with the Wine resource.
The Loire Valley in France is famous for its Châteaux and its vineyards.
Valois Dynasty
Valois Dynasty
Win a regular game as Catherine De Medici
A reference to the House of Valois, which ruled France from 1328 to 1589.

See also[]

Civilization VI Civilizations [edit]
AmericanArabianAustralian1AztecBabylonian1BrazilianByzantine1Canadian GS-OnlyChineseCree R&F-OnlyDutch R&F-OnlyEgyptianEnglishEthiopian1FrenchGallic1Georgian R&F-OnlyGermanGran Colombian1GreekHungarian GS-OnlyIncan GS-OnlyIndianIndonesian1JapaneseKhmer1KongoleseKorean R&F-OnlyMacedonian1Malian GS-OnlyMāori GS-OnlyMapuche R&F-OnlyMayan1Mongolian R&F-OnlyNorwegianNubian1Ottoman GS-OnlyPersian1Phoenician GS-OnlyPolish1Portuguese1RomanRussianScottish R&F-OnlyScythianSpanishSumerianSwedish GS-OnlyVietnamese1Zulu R&F-Only
1 Requires DLC

R&F-Only Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.