France 26 England 24
Jonny May's Six Nations debut lasted less than 10 minutes at the Stade de France this evening.
The Gloucester wing was forced to retire with a nasty facial injury and was replaced by Alex Goode.
England made the worst possible start, conceding a try after just 32 seconds when Yoann Huget went over in the corner.
Owen Farrell slotted a penalty but another try for Huget and two penalties by Jean-Marc Doussain swept the home side into a 16-3 lead after 22 minutes.
It looked grim for Chris Robshaw's side but they dug deep and a try by Mike Brown during a good period just before half-time gave them hope.
Farrell kicked a second penalty early in the second half and England, with Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees in the thick of the action, were back in the game.
And they went ahead for the first time in the 49th minute when Farrell converted Luther Burrell's try which came after great work by Billy Vunipola.
A clever Danny Care drop goal stetched the lead to 21-16 just before the hour mark before another French penalty - this time by Maxime Machenaud - cut the deficit to two points.
Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan went on as a 65th-minute replacement for Vunipola and made a couple of typically rampaging runs and England stretched their lead when Goode slotted a penalty with less than 10 minutes remaining.
But with less than four minutes to go France regained the lead when Machenaud converted Gael Fickou's fine try to win a pulsating game.