France's is another ideal starting country as you really aren't at risk of being overwhelmed by AI controlled countries early on. Just remember to ally with all those vassals you start out with so others don't gobble them up before you can diplo-annex them. --- How many GMs does it take to change a burntout lightbulb? None, it is working as intended.
Well I got impatient and started out as the 'easiest' country I could find (it was 5 stars for each category), it is an eastern one that I had never heard of... just west of Delhi, big.
Anyway, I started as them, thought I'd have a peaceful game, allied with a few people. Suddenly I was called to war as one of my allies had been attacked. 'To arms!' I yelled only to find that I had lost 3 stability for my unprovoked joining of the war... hehe, I had hoped that my ally demanding I join in was a cassus beli but obviously not.
A few uprisings later caused by random events and all in all I am about 5 years in, -3 stability, no merchants in centres of trade as they have all been competed away and no way to get more as my stability is causing -0.45 merchants to appear per year :)
But I am making money, just, so patience is obviously the key and once my stability picks up I will be back in the game :) And of course I fought tooth and nail to make sure I got a new provence in the war.
--- I gotta poke it to know it, I gotta LIGHT IT ON FIRE!