Scrum half Amy Day whips the ball out against France during her 50th cap appearance.
Wales began their Rugby Women's World Cup campaign beaten but unbowed after France run out 26-0 victor's in Marcoussis in front of a partisan crowd.
Rachel Taylor's side put in a gutsy defensive display but ultimately France's clinical ability to score when chances offered themselves proved Wales' downfall.
The hosts scored four tries in all, their bonus point victory moving them top of Pool C.
At times in the first half Wales kept the home crowd subdued with a display full of purpose and endeavour. Wales actually had the better of the opening exchanges but once wing Marion Lievre plucked a pass from fly half Elinor Snowsill out of the air to race 50m to score, France were a different proposition.
The French driving maul was a constant threat but Wales countered with some plucky defence but the hosts were not to be deterred and crossed twice more through Shannon Izar and Lievre who collected her second of the evening. With Sandrine Agricole converting two of the three tries, France held a comfortable 19-0 lead at the break which didn't do justice to the effort put in by Wales.
France, one of the favourites for the tournament, found Wales a tough nut to crack in the second half but sealed the win late on when replacement Elodie Poublan pounced to secure the bonus point win.
Wales head coach Rhys Edwards admitted the defeat was a tough one to take.
"I have to say I am more than pleased in how we coped with the environment and more so how we dictated the majority if the game.
"The defeat is a tough one to take considering how dominant we were but we couldn't get the scoreboard ticking over.
"To concede an interception try after being so dominant took the wind from our sails and gave them a bit of a heads up. A team like France, even though they were on the back foot for the majority of the time, are a class outfit on the front foot and any opportunity they got they executed and took the two tries really well in the first spell.
"After halftime our defence kept us in the game at times but to concede a late try is a bitter pill. Some of the girls have played their best games in a Welsh shirt so that at this point of the tournament is a very pleasing position to be in.
"We knew it was going to be tough, it's a shame it wasn't closer but all in all we asked for a performance and at times we had that so the girls have laid the foundations to go into the next game and kick on and get the result they deserve."
Wales' next game is against Australia who had a comfortable win over South Africa earlier in the day.
Tries: Lievre 2, Izar, Poublan; Cons: Agricole 2, Le Duff
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.