Wales reached the semi-final stage of the tournament for the first time since 1987 and their youthful brand of rugby has been highly praised.
Sam Warburton's sending-off sparked many conversations after the game but Gatland was pleased with the way his side dealt with the decision and performed.
"I can't be more proud of our guys in terms of what they achieved when they were down to 14 men," he said.
"It was absolutely courageous what they did and to push France so close and give ourselves an opportunity to win the game, I'm incredibly proud of them.
"When you get two quality teams and someone goes down to 14 men, well the other team at this level should win comfortably, but that was not the case.
"We've got to take today on the chin.
"There's no discredit to France or the players because they didn't make that decision and they're in the final. I just hope they play a bit more rugby than they did tonight.
"The future is very exciting, we've had some young players come on in the last 12 months that have really developed and taken their opportunities.
"It's healthy at the moment, there's still lots of things that we have to keep working on in Wales in terms of the academies and development.
"I'd like to think that this group of youngsters, a lot of them will be around in 2015, we won't lose too many I think."