He was handed the job despite his lack of experience, both as a captain and international player.
But the 24-year-old revealed that has not prevented the likes of Kevin Maggs, Reggie Corrigan or Shane Byrne giving him their full support.
"It was strange being picked for the captaincy ahead of others who are more experienced, but it's happened and the guys have got right behind me," said O'Connell, who will win his 16th cap.
"You need to do something different to beat the French in Paris so maybe me being appointed skipper is it. But guys like Maggsy, Reggie and Shane are all chipping in and that's a good way to run a team."
Keith Wood's retirement after the World Cup robbed Ireland of one of the game's greatest leaders and O'Connell revealed the team has adjusted to his absence.
He said: "The senior guys have realised that Woody is no longer about to bark at people when things aren't going right. When matches weren't going well it was up to Woody to pull people aside and have a word.
"I'll have a few words with the players before the game, but that will be it. The days of punching the walls before you go out onto the field are gone.
"Some of the other lads will have something to say, so it will be a collective responsibility."