France made it two wins out of two in this year's Six Nations after seeing off a gallant Scotland side 23-17 at Murrayfield on Sunday.
It was a third defeat for the Scots, who at times threatened to take control of this game, but the French just seemed to grow stronger as the match progressed.
Both sides crossed the whitewash twice, went into the half-time sheds all square (10-10) and took their shots at goal when presented to them.
However, whilst Murrayfield was given a glimpse of Scotland's potential, the hosts once again just lacked the killer instinct to push on for the win midway through the second half when they held a slender lead.
Instead, Scotland coach Andy Robinson - now with two wins from 13 Six Nations fixtures in charge - was left to rue another one that got away when France full-back Maxime Medard went over for the decisive score just before the hour as the visitors went ahead for good.
Replacement back Lionel Beauxis sealed the deal when he put over a drop-goal in the 68th minute and Les Bleus rode it out until full-time.
The Scots dominated the early stages and took the lead when the outstanding Stuart Hogg, on his first start, was put over in the right corner after some quick passing along the back line.
Greig Laidlaw converted and added a penalty to make it 10-0, but the French soon hit back.
Fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc bulldozed over Laidlaw and when he was hauled down the French backs combined to put Wesley Fofana crashing past flailing Scottish arms to score.
Three minutes from half-time Geoff Cross gave the penalty away and Morgan Parra levelled it up, but the scrum-half missed another penalty shot just before the interval.
Parra was on target five minutes after the break to put the French in front for the first time, but Scotland regained the lead with a brilliant try in the 55th minute.
John Barclay's superb tackle set up a turnover deep in the Scots half, and the Nick de Luca charged upfield, passed left to Richie Vernon who drew the defender and put Lee Jones over (17-13).
But the lead lasted just two minutes - Julien Malzieu smashed through Jones' powderpuff tackle, and sent Medard galloping under the posts for a 17-20 lead.
Beauxis added his drop goal to extend the lead to six, and the French - who were nowhere near their best - saw it out comfortably from there as Les Bleus stay on course for a Grand Slam showdown with Wales.
Man of the match: France centre Wesley Fofana was a constant midfield threat whose first-half try was one for the highlight reels and skipper Thierry Dusautoir was at his typically robust best. But in the end we going for Scotland flank Ross Rennie - uncompromising and tough-tackling, he relished the full-on battle.
Moment of the match: It's always a sight to see a young gun score on debut, and when Stuart Hogg dived over in the corner for his first Test try, we could tell that Scotland meant business.
Villain of the match: No malice to report.
Tries: Hogg, Jones
Cons: Laidlaw, Weir
Tries: Fofana, MÃ©dard
Cons: Parra 2
Pens: Parra 2
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Rory Lamont, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Mike Blair, 8 David Denton, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross , 2 Ross Ford (c) 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Ed Kalman, 18 Alastair Kellock, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Duncan Weir, 22 Nick De Luca.
France: 15 Maxime MÃ©dard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 AurÃ©lien Rougerie, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Julien Malzieu, 10 FranÃ§ois Trinh-Duc, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (capt), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal PapÃ©, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.
Replacements: 16 William Servat, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Lionel Nallet, 19 Julien Bonnaire, 20 Julien Dupuy, 21 Lionel Beauxis, 22 Maxime Mermoz.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)