France captain Antoine Dupont said Saturday's 40-25 record win over New Zealand was "magnificent" in a dress rehearsal for the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Les Bleus claimed a first win over the All Blacks since 2009 thanks to Peato Mauvaka's double and efforts from Romain Ntamack and Damian Penaud as well as Melvyn Jaminet's points from the boot.
New Zealand lost a second game in the space of seven days after the defeat to Ireland last weekend and conceded 40 points or more for the second time in two years.
"We know how long it has been since we've beaten the All Blacks," home captain Antoine Dupont told reporters.
"Everything came together, an incredible scenario, an incredible opponent and a magnificent win.
"It's an important point in our adventure and we showed we have the quality," he added.
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster lamented his side's first half performance -- they conceded three tries in the opening 32 minutes -- before bringing themselves withing two points of the hosts in the final quarter.
"They came out really strong. They put us under pressure from the start," Foster told reporters.
"I was delighted with the way we came back in it and how we put them under pressure. We need to learn to do more of that," he added.
France head coach Fabien Galthie moved Romain Ntamack back to fly-half with powerful centre Jonathan Danty brought into midfield.
Foster made seven changes from last weekend's loss in Dublin with Richie Mo'unga starting at fly-half instead of Beauden Barrett, who suffered a concussion at Landsdowne Road.
Hooker Peato Mauvaka, born closer to Auckland than Paris in New Caledonia, claimed his fourth try in three Tests this November, profiting at the back of a rolling maul after less than three minutes.
Visiting full-back Jordie Barrett closed the gap to a point with two penalty goals before the noise in northern Paris lifted by another octave.
Les Bleus progressed from their own half with a succession of one-pass phases before Romain Ntamack stepped off his right foot inside opponent Mo’unga to dive over, justifying Galthie’s decision to move him back to fly-half.
Jaminet's second conversion made it 14-6 to cap off a thrilling opening quarter before Danty justified his selection at inside centre by bulldozing over 122kg, 2.04m lock Brodie Retallick with ease.
Mauvaka had further reason to celebrate after half an hour after repeating his feat from earlier in the half to crash over from another rolling maul.
- All Blacks fight back -
Trailing 24-6 at the break the All Blacks came out of the changing rooms early after the interval and gained some momentum by copying the hosts’ first half tactic of one-pass phases before Barrett found a way over in the corner.
The full-back, however, who had had a poor first half failed with his touchline conversion.
Les Bleus' lead was cut again with half an hour remaining as centre Rieko Ioane sprinted over from 40m and Barrett’s conversion made it 24-18, setting up a tense final 30 minutes.
The ominous signs of an All Black comeback increased on 58 minutes as Ardie Savea charged over from short range, Barrett again converting to make it 27-25.
The home support rediscovered their voices with 17 minutes left as Ntamack escaped from his own tryline and Jaminet kicked a penalty two phases later to stetch the lead to five points.
With 12 minutes left, New Zealand attempted to run the ball from their own 22m but Damian Penaud intercepted David Havili’s looping pass to cross unopposed under the posts.
Leading 37-25, Les Bleus closed out the game in clinical fashion as Jaminet took his tally for the night to 20 points with a penalty goal with the clock in the red.
It closed a bad day for southern hemisphere teams as Australia lost 29-28 to Wales, world champions South Africa went down 27-26 to England while Japan were beaten 29-20 by Scotland.