All throughout post-roman history, France (and the Franks) have played an enormous role in history. France undoubtedly shaped the 11th, 12th, and 13th centurys more than any other European principality, and continued to dominate the Old World throughout the medieval and Renaissance ages. The academy at Paris was widely recognized as one of the best. The chivalry (nobility, knights) of France were the most feared military body in Europe for centuries, and Napoleon more than reestablished the country's military influence in the early 19th century.
Phew! That was a mouthful. As you can see, France played a huge function in Old World politics and warring, and the hypothetical Metternich statement in question is a witty way to state the obvious.