The outcome might have been defeat but captain Gordon Bulloch is adamant Scotland were the moral victors from a gripping opening RBS 6 Nations match in Paris.
The Scots, highly fancied before the start to retain the wooden spoon, turned last year's table on its head at Stade de France by leading the reigning champions from the third minute to the 78th.
The battling Scots were still level right up to the end of normal time before conceding the only try of the match from a charge-down to suffer a heart-breaking 16-9 defeat.
''We said all week we wanted a performance in the first 20 minutes and we got that,'' said Bulloch.
''We kept it going and kept it going and were still in the lead for the last 10 minutes. But we've got to fight and grind out wins and it didn't happen through unfortunate circumstances.
''But I'm very proud of the way my team performed. There were a lot of good aspects out there. It is still a young, up-and-coming team and we can only learn from that.''
The game had entered a third minute of injury time when Hugo Southwell's attempted clearance was charged down and centre Damien Traille followed up to grab the decisive touchdown and spare France's blushes.
A 68th-minute drop goal from fly-half Yann Delaigue, to add to his two second-half penalties, had brought the French level and both sides might have been happy with a draw.
''We were so good,'' said Scotland coach Matt Williams.
''We lost our composure in the last three minutes.
''If you play France and you lose your discipline for three minutes, they'll score a try and that's what happened.''
The big task facing the Scots now is to build on this performance against Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday in the first of three successive home matches.
''The next fixture will be tremendously difficult as well,'' said Bulloch.
''Every game in the Six Nations, after the way we performed last year, was going to be difficult.''
England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher insists his young side will be better for the experience after beating Italy in the bronze final to round out their 2015 Rugby Europe U18 Championship campaign in style.