France were made to rue missed opportunities as they lost 14-13 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, as Wales sealed second position in the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations.
Wales led 14-10 at half-time through a Liam Williams try and three Leigh Halfpenny penalties, with a François Trinh-Duc drop goal and Gael Fickou try keeping the visitors within range.
France rallied after the break with captain Mathieu Bastareaud looking imperious as they moved to within one point.
But the French failed to capitalise on a series of penalties, with Maxime Machenaud and Trinh-Duc both missing from the tee.
The visitors drew first blood, with Trinh-Duc slotting a drop goal after just three minutes, but Wales hit back with a try straight from the restart.
Dan Biggar’s kick didn’t initially go ten metres and the French players seemed to switch off, allowing Alun Wyn Jones to claim the ball as it crossed the ten-metre line.
The ball went through the hands and Scott Williams kicked through for L Williams to score, profiting from Trinh-Duc’s misjudgement of the bouncing ball.
Halfpenny missed the subsequent conversion, but made amends with two penalties as Wales pulled into an 11-3 lead.
France soon hit back through Fickou after good work from hooker Adrien Pelissie, in for the injured Guilhem Guirado.
Pelissie made the metres down the right flank and France maintained their composure with numbers on the outside to find Fickou who went over under the posts.
France continued to give away penalties and were punished again by Halfpenny’s boot, making it 14-10 to the home side.
After half-time Wales started strongly, with Taulupe Faletau showing great acceleration to outstrip substitute Mathieu Babillot, only for the pass to go astray.
Another Welsh attack ended with a handling error before France pushed forward themselves, Machenaud bringing them to within a point with a penalty.
France’s discipline improved drastically after the break and it was Wales who seemed in trouble, conceding a string of penalties.
Trinh-Duc’s mixed game continued as he failed to make touch with a penalty, gifting Wales possession on the halfway line, rather than creating a try-scoring opportunity for his side.
It would not prove too costly as the Welsh forwards were penalised for collapsing the scrum and gave his forwards a lineout opportunity just outside the Wales 22.
France were beginning to dominate, but Wales’ defence was strong, Biggar particularly impressive in keeping Mathieu Bastareaud on his feet and winning a scrum for his team.
Marco Tauleigne’s strong surge into the Wales half presented France with the chance to take the lead, but Trinh-Duc’s afternoon worsened as he sent the penalty attempt wide of the posts.
Wales stepped up their game in the final ten minutes, gaining more territory and managing the game well. France’s final opportunity was a lineout on the halfway, which Wales managed to steal, condemning France to their third defeat of the Championship.