France is currently a lesser choice to pick, as it is not powerful enough when compared to other civs, in every victory route. Many attributes the weakness to Catherine's leader ability. Actually her strength in spying is not a big trouble for me. Spies can do a lot of things when they have promotions that gives a 90% success chance. But the espionage strength is certainly an accessory as its comes really late and need alot of investment to work. The bigger problem lies in France's viability towards a cultural victory, which is the only privileged route under its current civ Uniques. Lets look at the Civ's uniques one by one: Civ Unique ability: One of the issue is the construction of later game wonders. They cost a lot of production, even if CdM has a boost in building them, but they are not providing a lot of tourism. So France cities are constantly locked into building them. Yet a failure costs you dearly, due to the huge waste of time and production, but the reward is too small compared to it. Unique unit: The Grande Imperiale comes in handy for defensive purpose. But, like samurais, they are very expensive to build or to purchase. When cities are constantly locked in constructions, it is just impossible to make enough number of them and France can be easily overwhelmed by aggressive civs. And the defensive design renders a Grande Imperiale rush sth very unlikely to happen. Unique Improvement: They provide a decent amount of culture and some tourism, not bad as an improvement alone. So we are putting wonders here, districts here, farmlands here... wait, this improvement occupies a tile and can only be built adjacent to river and it gets boost when it is adjacent to wonders? Where should I place my national park, and my seaside resort then? The conditions to maximize benefits from Chateau are quite harsh, moreover it chews up valuable tiles for something else. This makes the land planning of France, where wonders already occupy alot of space, even more embarrassing. Rounding up the above opinions, the weakness of French comes from 1, the tons of production they need, but yet they lack sufficient hammers to function well 2, difficult tile management 3, everything comes so late but not so powerful 4, on top of all, CdM is good at sth costly but not so useful. The solution we need is more than an alt leader can solve. Even CdM is gone, the problem is still there. The late game problem is not really a serious thing. But we should make sure that it is worthy to survive all the hell-like early game. In the current situation, France only struggles through the early game to get into another horrible later game. I guess France really needs a harder boost in wonder production, cheaper UU and less conditional UI( or more beneficial), in order to get a real improvement. Or they can revolutionize the whole kit to make things better. Proper suggestions: (collected ideas from responses to this post) Spoiler Grand Tour : 20% is just not enough as a sufficient boost for later wonders. Lets compare the numbers of wonder production cost in different eras. Ancient and classical wonders cost around 180-400 production. A 15% boost, like that of Egypt and China, is reasonable to win those early wonders. Medieval wonders cost 710, Renaissance wonders cost 900-1000 sth, and Industrial wonders cost even higher, somewhere around 1200-1500. A 20% boost is still acceptable for Medieval wonders, although it can hardly guarantee anything. And for Renaissance and industrial wonders, it is clear that 20% boost in wonder production is just a pity number. This problem is more outstanding as you only have 10-30 production per turn, even with industrial zones which come in Medieval era, making us to sacrifice medieval wonder building to pull up the industrial zones. Assume that we also take the Gothic Architecture policy, which boosts the wonder construction bonus to 35%: 30 (at max) x 135% =40.5. 900 (the lowest cost for Renaissance wonders) / 40.5 =22.5 turns 22 turns for a wonder is madness. Not to mention that the civic progression is as fast as rocket. You probably will reach the civic to build the Bolshoi Theater before you finish your first late game wonder. That is ridiculous. Thus I suppose a 100% boost is not too ground breaking for France actually, considering how much production they have to waste on wonders, spies, and their UU. 900/ (30 x 215%) = 14 turns This sounds much more logical to build one wonder. If 100% sounds too terrifying, 60% can also do. It is just necessary to make France good in late game wonder building. Also, consider Germany and Nubia, the two production power house in Civ 6. Spoiler For Germany : For Germany: Germany's UD can boost an extra +5 production per industrial zone.(Actually it can be much higher in terms of good positioning, but lets keep it 5 here) Assume it also takes the Gothic Architecture policy, and it has 30+5=35 production. 35 x 115% =40.2 900/40.2 =22.3 turns (also the same as France) Spoiler For Nubia : For Nubia: Nubia has +1 production per mine on resources and +1 production per Pyramid adj to industrial zone. Aussme it also takes the Gothic Architecture policy, and it has 3 improved mine resources and 2 nubian pyramid next to industrial zone: 30+5=35 production. 35 x 115% =40.2 900/40.2 =22.3 turns (also the same as France) Sometimes I just feel bad for France... Spoiler Chateaux : Chateaux isn't really bad compared to the wonder production problem. But it still arises land issues due to its difficult positioning to maximize the yield. I suppose the requirement along river should be removed, but we can also add a non-adjacent requirement to limit its power. Spoiler Grande Imperiale : The main issue for the UU is not their defensive design, but their cost to produce. Also, considering how late they arrive in game and how hard it is to get one. They become a luxury rather than having practical use. A sharp cut in their production may not be necessary, but we need to have an unit that can be upgraded into this UU. Spoiler Catherine di Medici : Many say that her ability is quite disappointing. But in fact it is not that bad for better spy operations and an extra spy. For other players, playing espionage system aggressively is an unnecessary lucky draw. But for CdM, it is almost a certain success, as the succeeding chance is 90%. Espionage actually has a powerful potential as long as the operations are successful. If the above issues are fixed, I think CdM is still fun to play. But to make her ability comparable to other leaders, I think she can have more spies. 7 spies are more than enough in duel or small maps. But in larder maps, she needs a lot more spies to keep up the advantage.