The only counter right now seems to be Mongol, even looking at tournament, map 1 Dry Arabia French is most picked and usually the winning civ. They are top civ on open land map.
The fact is that they still have so many bonus early on, able to flight and prof scout. Their win rate only lower because currently they are not very strong on hybrid map (Which could be changed since demo ships got fixed).
I feel like their cheaper eco upgrade should be removed, when they already have eco bonus from quicker vil training speed and cheaper eco buildings. On top of that they have free melee upgrade too.
I think its opposite. Other civs need might need some buff. French overall is very well balanced. They have bonuses but its not broken like some other civ mechs can get. e.g Dehli Snake-walling and 2x speed, Mongols tower rush and double production, China Siege and 3x production. It mostly depends on the opposing civ.
French vs Mongols: French gonna lose, Mongols are good at both infantry and cav and have higher production.
French mirror: French wins, who would have guessed?
French vs Dehli: With recent buffs dehli can play defend early game and play really good in castle age but might lose in imperial due to upgrades taking time. Isolating dehli is hard because their infantry can build walls using military to expand while keeping villagers safe. Not to mention free techs.
French vs Rus: Not sure after recent patch. But they can easily build 2 TC due to Age 2 landmark and can build knights for raiding (e.g isolating french gold).
French vs China: Depends on map. Its hard for any civ to raid china. Even a lot of English players avoid. But its easy to isolate them and stop them from booming/expanding. So if map is closed china can boom really well. Not sure after recent patch.
French vs Abbasids: Depends on map. Most likely french will especially if map is open, not sure after recent patch. Abbasids take some time to take off. But their late game is not as bad as early game.
FRENCH IS OP IF PLAYED RIGHT