The flair of the French was to deny Women’s World Cup hosts Ireland back-to-back semi-final appearances.
In Dublin on Thurdsay night night France won the crucial Pool C decider 21-5 and send them through to a semi-final against holders England at Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium.
Ireland will now go forward to the fifth to eight place classifications where they will meet Australia, who they defeated 19-17 in their opening pool match.
That game will also be staged at the home of Ulster Rugby, a curtain raiser to the two semi-finals, the second of which sees New Zealand take on USA, who went through as one of the best three runners-up across the three pools.
Against Ireland, France scored all their points in the first half at the UCD Bowl in Dublin and, in spite of dominating possession and territory after the break, Ireland were unable to get back into the game.
Romane Menager crossed early and Caroline Ladagnous touched down twice as France secured top spot in the pool and a last-four clash with England.
Ireland managed a last-minute consolation try through Cliodhna Moloney.
The damage was done early as France started superbly and put Ireland on the back foot with some slick handling moves.
Montserrat Amedee missed with an early kick at goal after Ireland were penalised at a scrum, but they soon took the lead as the impressive Menager found her way over after seven minutes.
Amedee converted and France increased their lead seven minutes later as Ladagnous crossed for her first. This time Shannon Izar added the extras.
Ireland responded with some good possession, but they found the French defence tough to break through and an opportunity was spurned when Ciara Griffin knocked on.
Chloe Pelle stretched Ireland with a good break and the tournament hosts were breached again on the half hour as Ladagnous claimed her second converted try, Amedee tagging on the goal.
Ireland returned for the second half in spirited fashion. They began to dominate play and were given a potential route back into the game when Lenaig Corson was sent to the sin bin.
But again the Irish were unable to make the most of their opportunities and Les Bleus held firm.
Moloney did finally crash over for a deserved consolation in the final act of the game.