France quelled Ireland’s hopes of a second Guinness Six Nations title in three years, running in four tries at the Stade de France to prevail 35-27 and finish second behind England in the standings on points difference.
Knowing they required a seven-point win to clinch the Championship, Ireland suffered an early blow when prolific scrum-half Antoine Dupont crashed over in the seventh minute after some dazzling footwork from Gael Fickou.
The visitors looked to respond quickly and Johnny Sexton seemed to have sent Hugo Keenan over, only for home full-back Anthony Bouthier to deliberately knock the bouncing ball into touch and duly earn ten minutes in the sin-bin.
Cian Healy did get Andy Farrell’s men on the board just shy of the 20-minute mark to mark his 100th Test cap in style, and Sexton temporarily kicked Ireland in front with a penalty.
But a penalty try in favour of the hosts saw them take a slender 17-13 lead into the break, with Caelan Doris tackling opposite number Francois Cros off the ball en route to the try-line.
France picked up where they left off after half-time, and fly-half Romain Ntamack dotted down after Dupont had collected Fickou’s smart kick to present an uphill task in the face of Ireland’s title ambitions.
Robbie Henshaw scored a fine solo try to set up a tense final 20 minutes, but although Jacob Stockdale got on the board at the death, Virimi Vakatawa’s bonus-point score left the visitors with too much to do.