Coach Rowland Phillips was disappointed by defeat but keen to stress the positives: "We created far more than the French and once we can convert good field position into scores, we will not be easily beaten again."
Be that as it may, to win 80% of the possession and yet do no better than share six tries with the French will not have been the best of preparations for the Four Nations. Wales will have to show far more urgency and composure against Scotland, Ireland and England if they are to maintain their marvellous record of never losing a single game since the quadrangular competition started back in 1999.
In the first half Wales could only muster the one try, scored by Dragons hooker Ben Roberts after a clean line-out take by Scarlets lock Haydn Pugh and converted by Scarlets full-back Dan Evans.
France with no more than three scoring opportunities took two of them - prop Gaetan Guyon (La Rochelle) crashed over from a line-out and then Béziers wing Jonathan Bosquet showed a clean pair of heels to the Welsh defence to score an interception try from 80 metres.
With two conversions and a penalty, France led amazingly 17-7, Evans having also missed two penalties for Wales. There was a tad more fluency and directness in Welsh play after the break and Pugh got a try from a line-out, well converted by Ospreys wing Leigh Halfpenny.
Some very weak tackling then let in Bourgoin centre Yann David for a try converted by Bosquet and although Evans at last finished off a back move in the corner, there was neither the guile nor the composure to clinch the win that was there for the taking.