Ireland's Grand Slam dreams were broken by a resurgent France in Dublin.
After wins over Italy, Scotland and England, the home team came into the match as favourites to beat a French side who had lost to Wales last time out.
But the visitors were plainly superior and, despite a ferocious second-half fight back from the Irish, galloped to a victory which could yet see them crowned RBS 6 Nations champions.
Toulouse's Benoit Baby was named RBS 6 Nations Man of the Match as he made his full debut in place of Brive centre Ludovic Valbon.
The day marked a special occasion for inspirational Les Bleus skipper Fabien Pelous who joined an elite band by becoming only the fifth player in rugby history to make 100 Test appearances.
Ireland won an early penalty which Ronan O'Gara sent between the uprights, although the lead lasted until the 11th minute when Yann Delaigue landed a drop goal.
Referee Tony Spreadbury then spotted a high tackle on Brian O'Driscoll and O'Gara slotted the three points, but a penalty from scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili levelled matters once again.
O'Gara missed a penalty but readjusted his sights in the 25th minute and nudged over a tricky long-range effort.
The score drew a swift response from France who threatened down the right until Girvan Dempsey knocked on a pass meant for Laharrague, conceding a scrum which Les Bleus used to fashion a try for Christophe Dominici.
Delaigue fired a beautifully-timed pass to right wing Cedric Heymans who had drifted into midfield and the Toulouse flyer drew his marker before sending Dominici over.
In the 33rd minute Les Bleus won clean possession, the increasingly impressive Delaigue offloaded to Baby and the little centre went on an arcing run between Kevin Maggs and Dempsey which carried him over the line. Yachvili slotted the conversion.
Ireland turned the pressure on France after the break and they were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts after Baby had appeared to strike O'Driscoll and O'Gara made no mistake in slashing the deficit to six points.
With the wind in their faces, Ireland were finding it difficult to get out of their own half and when they did manage it in the 59th minute they knocked on through Murphy, before conceding a penalty which Yachvili potted.
O'Driscoll then hauled his side back into the match with a try out of nothing. He blasted through a busy midfield, shrugging off one tackle, and found himself in space with only Laharrague to beat - a task he managed with a sweet side step which carried him under the posts, making it a simple conversion for O'Gara.
But Ireland were caught out by their own ambition, losing the ball in a dangerous position. No one was at home on the blind side and prop Sylvain Marconnet had the time to feed Dominici who strolled over for the winning score.
After Ireland's heroic big-game hunt of the Springboks and Scotland's six-try runaround of the Pumas, the challenge of engineering the most spectacular win of the autumn series now falls on Wales, writes Peter Jackson.