However Ireland, under new coach John Oâ00Sullivan, were extremely positive going into this game at Templeville Road and showed their renewed energy with a try in each half that almost secured that famous victory.
They were cruelly denied however when French centre Christelle Le Duff dived over for an unconverted try five minutes from time.
From an Irish point of view the score was heartbreaking because they had held France out for sustained periods in the second half and had scored one of their finest ever tries in this competition early in the game.
That score came after 14 minutes when a superb back line move, sparked by busy scrum half Louise Beamish â00 a late replacement for Tania Rosser - saw UL Bohs winger Jeannette Feighery touch down in the corner.
It was as free flowing a try as Ireland have ever scored with the turnover secured by Orla Brennan and then the ball being swung wide quickly through six pairs of Irish hands.
France replied with a penalty from Le Duff and half-time came with the score line still 5-3 in the hostsâ00 favour.
France struck for their first try of the afternoon on 65 minutes when replacement lock Melanie Gauffinet crashed over after a short drive.
Ireland though were not behind for long and just minutes later an excellent break from Joanne Oâ00Sullivan put Leinster prop Coghlan into space and she showed great strength to make the line after a series of attacks.
Frustratingly though, the French backs strung the match-winning move together in the 75th-minute when Le Duff cut through. Showing great heart, the Irish pack rumbled forward and were twice back in the visitorsâ00 22 but they ran out of time.
After only his second game at the helm, Cobh man Oâ00Sullivan said: â00That was a huge improvement on last week, Iâ00ve very proud of the girls. They controlled a lot of the game and were very unlucky not to beat one of the best teams in the world.â0 He added however that he was disappointed to lose the game, especially with the match winning score coming so late. â00There was nothing between the two teams and we must keep on building now as we prepare for England.â0
One new cap was awarded in the game when Leinster forward Debbie Clarke replaced Germaine Healy in the second half.
In other games England beat Italy 23-0 while Wales beat Scotland 10-0.
The Irish take on England on Sunday, February 25 in Thomond Park (kick-off 2pm).
Tries: Coghlan, Feighery
Tries: Gauffinet, Le Duff
Pen: Le Duff
Ireland Women: Sarahjane Belton, Jeannette Feighery, Lynne Cantwell, Shannon Houston, Grave Davitt, Joanne O'Sullivan, Louise Beamish, Orla Brennan, Sinead Ryan, Eimear O'Sullivan, Germaine Healy, Caroline Mahon, Marie Barrett, Jess Limbert, Fiona Coghlan.
Replacements Used: Laura Guest, Debbie Clarke, Rachel Boyd, Mairead Kelly
France Women: Allainmat, Talayrac, Le Duff, Boukerma, Horta, Sartini, Pujol, Loyez, Plantet, Camatta, Rabier, Devroute, Gelis, Noguera, Irazu.
Replacements Used: Gauffinet