The french defence often results in a complex positional struggle. I never seem to get hold of it. It is difficult. I found however the blog of 4FR interesting My French defence tournament Part 1 : Choosing an opening variation.
He concludes that the sucess rate is greater for the winaver (Nc3) - it is also the most common choice among Grand Masters, but that on club level we often see the advance variation, as in the second theme tournament.
One reason may be that playing lower ranking players, the advance variation avoids the exchange variation.
The advance variation may be the "natural" choice, but it breaks a couple of the rules of the thumb of opening theory. It is the third pawn move (Rule: No more than three pawn moves during the first 8 moves), it moves a piece that is already developed. On the positive side, it gains space that is a long term advantage, but it becomes vital that white can hold on and control d4.
Here is a game from this tournament. We are both club level players, and we both make mistakes. The idea here is to learn for our mistakes.