Yes, I believe it does, although this depends on how you define challenging and how you define realistic. Most AI's regardless are made with an eye towards reacting to human decisions with an ultimate goal of game victory IMHO, with any AI planning keyed in the same direction. Performing per historical doctrine is not necessarily a priority. However, France 14 is OK here because most battles were some sort of large or small meeting engagement, so doctrine was in many respects an afterthought historically. The game does tend to feed in units, but in 1914 this actually happened a lot. From what I saw, the AI here is fine.
If not, you can always change the Advantage slider towards the AI, use optional rules (IMHO do use "counterbattery fire"), use AI Orders and for a real test, use Automatic with FOW (Fog of War).