Defiant Scotland defence, combined with some handling errors in wet conditions, ensured that France hadn't troubled the scorers in the first half - Greig Laidlaw notching two penalties for the visitors.
But after the break, the floodgates opened after smart work from Mathieu Bastareaud and Yannick Nyanga paved the way for Wesley Fofana to force his way over down the right.
And soon after, following a bulldozing break from Bastareaud, Maxime Machenaud popped the ball inside to Maxime Medard to give France some much-needed breathing space.
As France went in search of the score that would give them a winning margin of more than 16 - and therefore see les Bleus leapfrog Ireland into fifth - Scotland wing Tim Visser scored on the counter-attack.
It meant that France had to be satisfied with their 23-16 victory but despite watching the team become the first French side to finish bottom of the pile since 1999, Saint-Andre chose to laud his players, in particular fly-half Frederic Michalak, who has endured some criticism of late.
"This squad showed the spirit to draw in Ireland and to come back after being dominated at the start of this game," he said.
"It has a soul, it's a young team which will fight. And I will keep the memory of Michalak getting a standing ovation at the end of the game."