Biggest Realistic French Empire?

I'm curious, how big can we get France and her empire without getting into wank territories? Bonus points if you start with a POD between Charlemagne's death and Louis XIV's birth
 
I'm curious, how big can we get France and her empire without getting into wank territories? Bonus points if you start with a POD between Charlemagne's death and Louis XIV's birth
Well theorically with that POD anything could count as a wank anyway.
Maybe permanent annexation Marca Hispanica? getting what we call belgium one too, and part of switzerland...and might not be wank enough.
 
Francis I outbids Charles V and becomes Holy Roman Emperor. War ensues and France wins - directly annexing the Burgundian inheritance and Northern Italy.
 
Francis I outbids Charles V and becomes Holy Roman Emperor. War ensues and France wins - directly annexing the Burgundian inheritance and Northern Italy.
For achieving these goals you don’t even need to provide Francis with the imperial crown, just make him (or his predecessors) to modernize the French army up to the contemporary standard or better to get slightly ahead of it (without extravagant technological innovations) and provide it with the competent generals instead of the aristocratic nincompoops. Replacing his personal chivalry with the generalship would be a good start. No need to make him pre-incarnation (is there such a word?) of Napoleon, level of Turenne or Villars would be just fine.
 
For achieving these goals you don’t even need to provide Francis with the imperial crown, just make him (or his predecessors) to modernize the French army up to the contemporary standard or better to get slightly ahead of it (without extravagant technological innovations) and provide it with the competent generals instead of the aristocratic nincompoops. Replacing his personal chivalry with the generalship would be a good start. No need to make him pre-incarnation (is there such a word?) of Napoleon, level of Turenne or Villars would be just fine.

Yes, but Mega-France + Imperial Crown seems like something which down the line could translate into a Paris-led unified France-HRE. If we're gonna go for a wank, that's a pretty big wank.
 
For achieving these goals you don’t even need to provide Francis with the imperial crown, just make him (or his predecessors) to modernize the French army up to the contemporary standard or better to get slightly ahead of it (without extravagant technological innovations) and provide it with the competent generals instead of the aristocratic nincompoops. Replacing his personal chivalry with the generalship would be a good start. No need to make him pre-incarnation (is there such a word?) of Napoleon, level of Turenne or Villars would be just fine.
Yes, but Mega-France + Imperial Crown seems like something which down the line could translate into a Paris-led unified France-HRE. If we're gonna go for a wank, that's a pretty big wank.
Doing it this ay also makes him, and likely his heirs, emperors in title and not just effect. Better POD: Hapsburgs never inherit Spain.
 
France wins the Franco-Spanish war faster. Louis XIV inherits a kingdom in better shape. He makes an alliance with the United Provinces to divide the Spanish Netherlands (William II of Orange surviving could help). France avoids conflict in the HRE and supports more energetically the Prince of Conti on the Polish throne. France also supports the Stuarts in England (with William II controlling Holland there is no Glorious Revolution). During the War of the Spanish Succession France avoids alienating its English and Dutch allies and manages to defeat the Habsburgs at the Battle of Blenheim. France finds herself at the head of Europe without a competitor and can concentrate fully on colonisation.
 
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