France, officially the French Republic, is a unitary sovereign state comprising territory in western Europe and several overseas regions.
The history of France's Kindred is entwined with that of their kine. The French enjoyed the bliss of many golden ages because of the never-ending cultural patronage of the Toreador, not just in Paris but also in Cannes and along the Cote d'Azur. Likewise, Idealist Brujah quietly sponsor France's numerous great philosophers. In most European countries the Ventrue hold the reins; this is not true in France.
The Blue Bloods chafe at their inability to gain more than a toehold here. The large cities are havens for the despised Nosferatu and – though the Toreador are loath to admit it – hiding places for a few Sabbat. Malkavians have great sport as inspirations among the bizarre artisans. The southern and eastern mountains are home to a number of Gangrel, and Tremere in search of rituals and ancient texts lurk in rural, as well as urban, libraries, and universities. France, with its love of culture, beauty and joie de vivre, seems the perfect place for Kindred.
Yet in many ways, Kindred society in France is insular and stagnant. The elders talk about the glorious past but they seldom look toward the darkening future. The Toreador jealously guards its absolute rule from the other clans. Even though a foreign Kindred visitor may receive royal treatment to all appearances, strong xenophobia runs through native vampires. The Kindred of France stride down a dangerous road in their pride, and the few enlightened voices among them fear for continued peace.
- Main article: Paris (WOD)
Paris is as central to the psyche of France as any capital city in the world. Built on the banks of the Seine, Paris is divided into 20 sections called Arrondissements. The city has hundreds of restaurants, museums, archives, theaters, and quaint Bohemian-style neighborhoods haunted by artists and tinkers. Though the trend-setting capital of Toreador society, some Malkavians live here, inspiring mortals in their own bizarre fashion. The elders of Paris have both created and destroyed more artists than most American Toreador will ever meet.
François Villon is the Toreador Prince of Paris. He rules the City of Lights and his special pet interest, the fashion community, from the seat of Toreador power in the 1st Arrondissement at the Louvre. His words are absolute law with regard to art and culture, not only in Paris but throughout much of France and the "civilized" world as well. He is especially fond of beautiful women, and many famous models have given of their vitae to Paris' prince.
Yet there are those who tire of the many centuries of Toreador rule. Brujah Idealists clamor for the influence that they feel they have earned. Nosferatu see Paris as a city where their appreciation of beauty should be acknowledged. The city is also home to a number of anarchs who want to bring down the current hard-line regime by violent means. Worse, a number of Sabbat dwell in the 19th and 20th Arrondissements amidst the lower-class neighborhoods and old slaughterhouses. They have recently made a few recruits among the social elite in Paris, and it seems that the city, so superficially perfect and serene, may well crumble, eaten away with rot from within.
Bordeaux and the Wine Country
Centered in Bordeaux and along the South Atlantic coast, the wine country of France is off the beaten path for most visitors. Yet here famous chateaux such as Latour and Margaux offer the best examples of the laid-back rural French lifestyle. People are friendly, but are cautious of outsiders and are superstitious as well. Members of Clan Gangrel tend to dwell here; as a rule, they are very old and often have ghoul family members who are protective of the Masquerade.
This tiny island principality has been under French protection since 1861, but the Grimaldi family, the oldest surviving European dynasty, have ruled here since the early Middle Ages. What few realize is the dynasty's connection – attenuated down the centuries, but still present – to the Sabbat Grimaldi family. Wielding great wealth, the Grimaldi's secret agents weave among mortal and Kindred tourists, making deals and linking the Sabbat with the mortal world. Perhaps because of these links, Monaco thrives from tourism. The most famous event here is the Grand Prix de Monaco auto race held in May.
Changeling: The Dreaming
The proportion of nobles to commoners in France, or the Kingdom of Neustria as it is known to the Kithain, is about four to one. This hotbed of extreme promonarchists is probably the worst place a footloose and fancy-free commoner could find themself. Most nobles here think any commoner without an Oath of Fealty is a dangerous anarchist, and some staunchly traditional commoners would agree. Neustria includes the Duchies of Bayeaux in the north, Burgundy in the south, and Sapphire Seas along the Mediterranean coast. Southwest France is the Aquitaine, the independent demesne of High Lord Rathesmere of House Fiona. Commoners in dire straits may be able to find refuge in his court if there is a good reason.