By the beginning of the 18th century, the French infantry was rather turgid, and therefore foreign mercenaries fought France's wars. It was Cardinal Richelieu who promoted the development of a regular national army. In 1640, France encamped 150 thousand units of infantry and 30 thousand cavalry units. The outstanding creator of the French army was Michel le Telieaux, who was promoted to the rank of military minister in 1643. He established the rank of civil commissary, a person who would be attached to commanding officers. Commissaries managed such things as finances, supplies, fortifications, hospitals and military courts. In order to provide a regular food supply for the troops, le Telieaux established properly organized shops, which were of great importance during strategic operations. Huge transports were one of the greatest disadvantages of mercenary armies. Soldiers took their wives with them just to help with the cooking and to render medical aid in case of injury. With the establishment of field hospitals and shops, it became possible to prohibit soldiers' wives from being with the army, so the latter increased in mobility. Gradually, high ranking officers became unable to choose and appoint their own junior officers. An officer's destiny from then on depended solely on the King. A new contingent was recruited. Le Telieaux had begun this reformation and his son, the Marquis de Luvuas, continued it. Thus, France gained one of the mightiest regular armies and was able to claim dominance in Europe. The country also pursued an active colonial policy, though England was better in this field, thanks to its fleet.
Besides the standard European units, France is able to train three ranged units:
- King Musketeer (strong 17th century dragoon unit)
- 18th century Dragoon (weaker but faster to train)
- Chasseur (skirmisher unit with good attack and range)
It is advisable to make use of France's ranged units. In the beginning, King Musketeers can support infantry attacks. Their long training time and comparably short range might make it more recommended to switch to 18th century Dragoons which can be trained in much larger numbers.
Chasseurs are among the best ranged units in the game, but they are defensively weak and must be protected, f.ex. by pikemen.