A try five minutes from time by debutant winger Julien Candelon secured France a share of the spoils in a magnificent Test match against South Africa in Durban.
In a game full of top-class attacking rugby, the Springboks looked to have done enough to secure the win after a Percy Montgomery drop goal in the 63rd minute put them 30-25 ahead.
But in keeping with the game as a whole, France never gave up, and scored a breath-taking late score which substitute Dimitri Yachvili narrowly failed to convert - his left-footed effort crashing against the upright.
The star of the show was French fly-half Frederic Michalak, who mixed up some deft distribution, clever kicking and scintillating running, as he proved a constant threat to the Springbok defence.
Bryan Habana scored two outstanding tries for the Springboks, in what will be remembered as one of the classic games of Test match rugby.
The game started as it was to continue, with a stunning try by French openside Yannick Nyanga.
The youngster capitalised on a mistake in the Springbok midfield and showed the pace of a winger to outsprint Schalk Berger and score a superb solo try. Jean-Baptiste Elissalde converted to make it 7-0 to the visitors.
Montgomery responded with a penalty before Habana scored another gem of a try. The Springboks robbed the French line-out ball before quick hands took the ball along the backline for the South African winger to cut inside the cover defence for a fine score.
Montgomery converted from wide out, before Michalak made it 10-10 with a drop goal from the halfway line.
Elissalde and Montgomery exchanged penalties before the break as the two sides went in at half-time locked at 13-13.
The second half continued at the same tempo and Habana's second try of the game saw the Springboks take an 18-13 lead after good chasing work by second-row Albert van den Berg. Montgomery converted.
Despite the suggestion that the Springboks were going to pull away, the French showed tremendous resilience, and struck back with two tries in four minutes.
First, Pascal Pape peeled off the side off a rolling maul to crash over before Julien Bonnaire finished off the move of the match after superb French handling enabled Elissalde to place a delightfully weighted cross-field kick into the hands of the number eight for France to go 25-20 in front.
However, Jean De Villiers' 58th-minute try - converted from the touchline by Montgomery - followed by a drop goal by the full-back, looked to have secured a win for the home side.
But that was before Candelon's late score drew the sides level and set up an exciting climax to the two-match series next week at Port Elizabeth.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.