La Republique Eternelle de la Royaume de France
The Struggle to RebuildEdit
After the first World War, France was devastated. At least 60% of the adult male population had died, the landscape and cities wracked by trench warfare and artillery fire. Seeing an opportunity to build something new from the rubble, a group of investors and businessmen began gathering capital for a new French manufacturing industry, completely state-of-the-art. The Cartel des gauches generally opposed these plans, favoring smaller businesses. However, by whipping up anti-communist fear, fueled particularly by the bloodshed of the Bolshevik Revolution and a strong French desire to see no more violence, the conservatives were able to weaken the influence of even center-left groups. Even as much as the influence of the Socialist Party weakened, it was never completely quelled, leading to frustration with Parliament and slow progress on economic prosperity.
A New Plan EmergesEdit
Inflaming anti-communist fears even further, the Bloc National (having managed to hold onto and reign in some of its more fascist elements) began to extol the glories of a unified, centralized government with fewer layers and less bureaucracy to jump through. Not wanting to move in the direction of anti-clerical, fascist Italy, and seeing too many fascist influences in their old foe Germany, this sentiment began to express itself through a glorification of the old Monarchy. Sure, there had been some abuses, but history is written by the victors, and the communist and socialist propaganda regarding the Revolution was clearly exaggerated for their own purposes. Anyway, it is the 20th century now, a more enlightened age! Clearly, a Constitutional Monarchy was a reasonable government for a country moving forward into the modern era, a country in need of unified leadership, in need of a leader willing to stand strong against communism and German fascism. And besides, the Church (a traditional ally of the French Right) had always been an important part of France's monarchy. Part of France's problems in the modern era were clearly due to its secular government's rejection of religion!
The Monarchy RestoredEdit
While France endured paramilitary clashes in the streets, much as the rest of Europe, the coup was largely bloodless. The Right was successful in portraying leftists as anti-prosperity, pro-Soviet, and soft on Germany. While many were still uncomfortable with the return of the aristocracy, they were also desperate for a return to normalcy and economic progress, something industrial manufacturing (under a monarch) seemed ready to provide. Mirroring the rise of the bankers centuries earlier, wealthy industrialists married into the noble families, trading capital and power for prestige and titles. The Catholic Church was restored as the official state religion of France, tightening ties to a Vatican that was, frankly, desperate for allies. Bloodlines and genealogies were scoured until a descendent of the Bourbon line was found, and naturally, the Pope himself crowned Philippe I.
Of course, some Frenchmen still hate the aristocracy, and a resistance does exist, consisting of constitutionalist republicans, Protestants, communists, and other dissidents. Very few of these possess any rank in the technological or industrial sectors, considering the close relationships between the factory owners and the current government.
Magic and TechnologyEdit
France competes with Germany as the cutting-edge manufacturing center of the world, with inventors and engineers organized into various guilds with aristocratic ties. Le Maison des Ingénieurs is the most prominent of these, but far from the only one, each with its own specialties. While the nobles of the past sponsored painters and musicians, the modern aristocrat finds a promising young mechanic to patronize, funding their work in exchange for lifelike mechnical animals or other showy pieces of machinery. Others, more interested in wealth than status in the ever-fickle court, invest in guild projects in exchange for profits down the road. While other countries increasingly seek to explore the interplay of magic and technology, France keeps the two staunchly separate - though its rapid technological advancement has, thus far, kept its products more than even with the competition.
The Church does its best to restrict magic in the country to those gifted priests which it can control, distrusting any other forms of magic. This has led to tension with the Collegium's presence in Paris and al Mushtamir along the southern coast (primarily in Marseilles), and indeed, with a Crown that would rather have more mages inside its borders than outside them. Less formally, while all the nobles (or at least, all the clever ones) keep up a public face of devout faith, many toy with the darker side of magic in secret meetings and masked balls.
Elves and gnomes are both common inhabitants of France's pastoral countryside, and those that integrate into the larger society are especially appreciated at vineyards and wineries. While France has few dwarves in its major cities (something new factory-owners would like to change), its borders do technically include portions of the dwarven populations of the Pyrenees and Alps. These largely function independently of France's rule, however. More exotically, the vast majority of France's undead population are clustered in Paris, with the exception of the skeleton champions which still roam the trenches of the Great War. The French government has not yet mustered the will, or, frankly, the force to eliminate them, and as they rarely leave their own petty conflicts, it is not considered a high priority. Finally, legends of werewolves have never entirely been forgotten by those living in rural areas.