Scotland prop Allan Jacobsen believes they can look forward with optimism to the remainder of their RBS 6 Nations campaign after rediscovering their fight in Paris.
Scotland matched France for tries and ambition on Saturday but a 13-7 penalty count helped the hosts to a 22-13 victory.
Frank Hadden’s men were still second-best in the scrum but they showed the defensive resistance that was lacking in their opening defeat by Wales the previous week.
Hadden hopes to have Northampton prop Euan Murray back following a rib injury for the Murrayfield clash with Italy on February 28 and Jacobsen insists their spirit gives them more grounds for optimism.
“We spoke a lot last week about the fight at the breakdown and up front,” the 30-year-old said.
“It wasn’t there last week and from the forwards’ point of view, that was our main focus, to front up and win the collisions.
“Obviously we’ll have to analyse the game but I felt that definitely improved.
“It was very difficult, France away from home is always a hard game.
“As I said, we spoke a lot about the fight and that’s what kept us in the game. We were there or thereabouts for the whole match.
“It looked like it was maybe slipping away from us at one point but we came back. We just didn’t lie down, we kept fighting.”
Scotland’s scrum was penalised for collapsing on several occasions, allowing Lionel Beauxis to prove the difference between the sides, who scored one try each.
But they were not helped by the 18th-minute loss of Jim Hamilton, the only lock in the 22, with a shoulder injury.
“It obviously had an effect but these things happen,” Jacobsen said. “Guys shuffled around and had a go, and that’s what it’s all about.
"Obviously, we’ve got a bit of work to do in the scrum but we’ve got a bit of time to do it. We just need to work hard and listen to the coaches and take it up another level.”
Scotland failed to trouble the French in the final 10 minutes after Thom Evans had crossed to allow Chris Paterson to kick them six points behind, albeit briefly.
But they had several chances before their try, including a break involving John Barclay and Mike Blair that ended when the Scotland skipper and scrum-half slipped amid a lack of support from his team-mates.
Flanker Barclay believes these are positive signs that they must work on converting against the Italians.
The 22-year-old said: “It felt like we gave ourselves opportunity to win. We had the attitude that was missing the previous week, but a few errors cost us.
“It’s positive that we are making these line breaks, but we’re not punishing them and that’s what we have to work on now.”