The home side's display in the wet and blustery conditions at Moulton College was a far cry from the last meeting between the two sides when France thrashed England 50-0 in Paris three weeks ago.
France flanker Margaux Deylaud's second-half try settled the contest after England fly-half Lauren Cattell went over in response to a drop goal and penalty from the visitors' No.10 Audrey Abadie.
But England will be aiming to draw the two-Test series level at the weekend and Halsey claims there were plenty of positives for them to take into the contest.
"With another game coming up against France we will have the opportunity to make improvements and hopefully this time come away with a win," said Halsey.
"It was a bittersweet defeat really. Although we are disappointed to have lost the game the players showed real improvement in the areas we have worked hard on - our physicality and our intensity.
"That meant we were able to dominate areas of the game rather than be dominated and reactive as we were in France last month.
"We could still have improved on our execution, although the weather also did play a part there.
"This is a young group of players, who have already made a big step-up this season, and I am confident that if we carry on making these improvements then we will have a very competitive and experienced squad next season."