Richie Gray's torn hamstring means Gilchrist steps straight into the starting XV despite not being in the matchday 23 for any of Scotland's four Championship fixtures so far.
Former skipper Al Kellock was the man who came on for Gray at Murrayfield at the weekend but he has to make do with a spot among the replacements once more as Scott Johnson opts to see what 22-year-old Gilchrist can do on the big stage at the Stade de France.
"I've been impressed with Gilco. I've spoken of form and future and he fits the bill in the latter category but he's also keen as mustard and we want to look at him in the company of a very good French side," said Scotland boss Johnson.
"We looked at every position in detail after last weekend and we reckoned that Strokosch's experience gave him the nod in the back row."
Scotland had hoped to be heading to Paris with a chance of winning the Championship but that goal eluded them after they were beaten 28-18 by the Welsh.
Instead they travel to France looking for a third tournament win and a best Championship finish since 2006 following previous successes against Italy and Ireland.
"We have made some progress in this championship and it would be ideal to cement that by a winning performance in Paris," added Johnson said.
"But the needle is stuck in the same groove as far as my view on Saturday's Test.
"We've got to get our basics right. We've got to win the contact area, be disciplined in our approach, and get some front-foot ball for our backs. We also want to end the championship on a high.
"We're not reading much at all into where France are in the table. France are wounded right now and we expect them to come out all guns blazing on Saturday. But the target for us is to concentrate on our game and aim to be as high up the table as possible come full time in Paris."
Scotland (v France, Stade de France, Saturday 8pm)
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby); Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Kelly Brown (Saracens, captain), Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier)
Replacements: Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres)