France Conversion

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This article is accurate for the latest versions of EU3, Napoleon’s Ambition, In Nomine and Heir to the Throne 4.1b.
Please help update this page to include information on the DW expansion.


Due to France's size it can seem very expensive and pointless to convert. This article briefly covers the reasons to stay catholic and to convert as well as how to convert in the least painful way if you decide to. This article assumes that you're playing France to create a large colonial empire.

Why Stay Catholic?

  • 1 Yearly Colonist and a hefty +20% chance to colonist success rate
  • +2 Diplomats a year, very useful for a large nation that may need to manage a lot of relations (or declare war)
  • Low Base Stability Cost of 20 per Province, the only Christian group with a lower cost is Orthodox at 15 per province.
  • Able to gain cardinals and become Papal Controller
    • Cardinals lower infamy and increase prestige and becoming controller adds a huge -20% stability cost reduction as well as additional prestige and infamy bonuses
  • You'll stay friendly with the other big nations, who will probably not convert.

Playing as France will most likely cause you to rack up significant amounts of infamy as you expand, and your large size naturally lends itself to gaining cardinals and become papal controller. However, as you gain infamy it becomes harder to gain Papal influence and unless you have high Narrowminded and/or certain National Ideas it can be nigh impossible. This is the paradox of catholic expansion. As you gain more infamy, the more valuable the infamy reduction of cardinals and curia control becomes but the harder it becomes to achieve. The other option is of course going Protestant.

Why Go Protestant?

  • +1 Tolerance to Heretics, Eases any conversion process and means non-true faith provinces will pay a decent amount of tax and wont rebel as much.
  • +10% National Tax Modifier - More Money is never a bad thing
  • +10% Production Efficiency - Great for mid-game when your production efficiency is low but still provides a high proportion of your monthly income, even better during late-game when new-world resource value skyrockets due to the availability of correct buildings.
  • You can adopt the Unam Sanctum and ravage Catholic nations (and take Protestant provinces in non-Protestant nations for a reduced cost) without requiring spies or stability hits. The Holy Roman Empire will almost definitely stay Catholic, though early on you'll be quite alone as none (if you had any) of your friends will like you anymore, provided they didn't also convert, so tackling the Holy Roman Empire might be a tad difficult.

There are a number of paths to conversion. This is not an exhaustive list.

Path 1: Tolerance

This is a path where you do not aim to convert every province. Depending on how and how well you are playing, by 1500 France is probably at least 50 provinces and that translates to a lot of missionaries. If you're converting you probably have your Innovative/Narrowminded slider towards the left and so you won't be receiving (if any) many missionaries. This path involves raising the tolerance of heretics to the same level as that of the True Faith.

  1. Before you convert, take the 'Pass Declaration of Indulgence Act' religious decision. This raises tolerance of heretics by 1.
  2. Take the Ecumenism National Idea. This adds another 2 tolerance to heretics. This also will prevent the Religious Civil Disorder event from occurring. This event adds a global +3% revolt rate and decreases tolerance of Truth Faith and Heretics by 2.
    • Option - If you have remained a monarchy then you can wait for the Submission of the Clergy event. This will occur rather quickly but can only occur if your relation with the Papal State is low. Ecumenism reduces the MTTH by 10%, as does having a statesman advisor and if your dominant religion is non-Catholic. You do have to remain Catholic for this to occur though. The first option allows you, for a small infamy hit, to gain a small bit of prestige, 1 level of stability and a slider move towards Centralisation. The other option removes a small amount of your infamy.
  3. Convert, this adds another 2 tolerance (Catholic gives -1, Protestant gives +1).

At this stage Protestantism should have +3 Tolerance, as well as any Government Form or Legitimacy bonuses (Usually another +1). Heretics have a base of -1 Tolerance and +4 due to the above bonuses for a total of +3 Tolerance, same as your primary (Plus any Government Form or Legitimacy bonuses)

  1. You will have to keep the Ecumenism NI forever! This will however allow you to expand into any Christian nation's territory without religious intolerance. Note that cultural intolerance, nationalism are unaffected. Also note that unless you take Humanist Tolerance or take Missionary gaining decisions and/or Ideas you will be unable to deal with Heathens.
  2. This path will leave you vulnerable to the province cession portion of the Umam Sanctum CB. If you hold provinces of another nations religion, they will be able to demand them at reduced cost. While this is not usually a factor due to France's power. If you get bogged down on a triple front war (Great Britain, Spain, Holy Roman Empire) or are in some other situation where you find yourself unable to defend yourself effectively (mass revolts, loss of armies, etc.) this is a potential weakness. Also religious zealots will still appear, but only if another

Path 2: Convert the Heathens!

This path also utilises Ecumenism but simply to allow the conversion process to go along more smoothly and without the Religious Civil Disorder event from occurring. This allows you to later swap out the Ecumenism Idea for another. If you are already very innovative this path might prove impossible or difficult, especially in the long run.

  1. Follow Path 1
  2. Start converting non-Protestant provinces.
    • Convert Reformed provinces as they wont convert to Protestantism through spread of Protestantism events as quickly as Catholic Provinces.
      • Note that the Religious Zeal effect (-20% conversion rate) on provinces recently converted by 'spread' events will mean you will be unable to convert them unless you have a high conversion rate.
    • Also note that spread of Protestantism will be much more likely for provinces adjacent to Protestant provinces. Note this is the same for Reformed provinces. Plan accordingly.
  3. Send Colonists to any non-Protestant colonies.


Overall Path 1 is the better choice, though if you absolutely need the National Idea slot Path 2 is a possibility. The slot is usually a fair price for a very smooth and easy conversion to Protestantism. The 10% Tax and Production modifiers will cause your income to expand heavily. The difference is far less significant towards endgame though it will help you maintain high tech rate and sustain armies throughout mid-game.