Three tries saw big-spenders Racing MÃ©tro claim a 32-22 victory in a hard-fought Paris derby at Stade Jean Bouin on Saturday.
British and Irish Lion Jonny Sexton kicked 17 points to inflict a first home defeat of the season upon capital rivals Stade, and lift Racing up into the playoff spots pending Saturday's later results.
Flying winger Benjamin Fall crossed the line to open the scores in just the sixth minute of the game, the Irish pivot adding the extras.
In similarly illustrious style, Sexton lined up opposite Springbok ten Morne Steyn, the South African replying with a penalty.
It was one of Steyn's international teammates who scored next, as athletic second-row Juandre Kruger finished off a sweeping move in the corner, following clever play from Lions Sexton and Jamie Roberts.
The Irishman failed with the conversion attempt from out wide, but added a brace of penalties before the break, Stade's only other first-half points coming courtesy of a Steyn drop-goal.
The home crowd, not used to seeing their team so outplayed, demanded a response in the second forty, and they got it almost immediately. Waisea Vuidravuwalu charged down Maxime Machenaud and grounded to haul Stade back into the match.
Steyn was off target with the conversion attempt, but added a further two three-pointers to Sexton's one, taking the scores to 17-21 on the hour mark.
Racing bagged their third try with fifteen minutes remaining, as flanker Antoine Battut was on hand to dot down with the home defence stretched. Sexton failed to convert.
That try looked to prove decisive, but Stade were not done yet. Vuidravuwalu broke clear and scored his second of the game to set up an enthralling final ten minutes.
The scores were poised at 22-26 after Steyn's missed conversion, but there was to be no fairytale ending for the home crowd. A high tackle allowed Sexton to extend the gap to seven points, before good breakdown defence from Racing handed them the chance to punt down into Stade territory.
The visitors kept the ball and kept play deep in the hosts' 22, eventually winning another penalty for their efforts. Ireland's fly-half stepped up once more, sealing his side's triumph, and cruelly denying Stade a losing bonus point.
For Stade FranÃ§ais:
Tries: Vuidravuwalu 2
Pens: Steyn 3
For Racing MÃ©tro:
Tries: Fall, Kruger, Battut
Pens: Sexton 5
Stade FranÃ§ais: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Waisea Vuidravuwalu, 13 Paul Williams, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Julien Arias, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Jerome Fillol, 8 Benjamin Macome, 7 Sylvain Nicolas, 6 Antoine Burban, 5 Pascal PapÃ©, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Laurent Sempere, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Aled de Malmanche, 18 Gerhard Mostert, 19 David Lyons, 20 Richard Kingi, 21 Jules Plisson, 22 Digby Ioane, 23 Davit Kubriashvili.
Racing MÃ©tro: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Jacques Cronje, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Antoine Battut, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe 17 Eddy Ben arous 18 Fabrice Metz 19 Wenceslas Lauret 20 Mike Phillips 21 Fabrice Estebanez 22 Juan Imhoff 23 Walter Desmaison