France played a significant role in the majority of the Great Crusades. Pope Urban II preached the First Crusade in French at the Council of Clermont in France. The crusade encyclical Quantum praedecessores for the Second Crusade was directly addressed to France and Louis VII. The major European players in the Third Crusade were Philip II of France and Richard I of England. England at the time, although often antagonistic to France, was quite close to France as well, having been controlled by Normans since 1066 and William the Conqueror. Richard I, in fact, reportedly spoke no English and controlled more French land than Philip II. The initial group of knights who took crusade vows for the Fourth Crusade did so at a tournament in France. However, French presence was not too significant for the Fifth Crusade, probably due to the Albigensian Crusade in southern France occurring just before or during the Fifth Crusade. The Sixth and Seventh Crusades were in fact expeditions led by Louis IX of France. Indeed, when the French army under Napoleon took Malta from the Knights Templar (the final end to the crusades in general) on June 13, 1798, about 200 of the 322 knights left were French.

References: Hallam, Riley-Smith [2]