Why France could never be a great economic power.

“True enough, if a little over-stated. But one could go further: what France failed to become, for any length of time, was the leading economic power, that is the centre, of Europe. Apart from the ‘continental’ century of the Champagne fairs – if then – the centre of Europe, where wealth collected, was never to be France. Without this all-important privilege, I will not say that France failed to obtain anything at all, but it certainly lacked the essential elements: abundant economic production, plentiful credit, thriving business, accumulated capital, a large volume of seaborne trade ~ in short the power and the means to sustain a long term project. Speaking of Richelieu’s positive achievements on sea, Ange Goudar rightly said: ‘It would have taken a century to turn France into a great maritime power .”

Fernand Braudel, Idendity of France


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