Two tries in quick succession from debutant lock Pascal Pape and centre Yannick Jauzion put them firmly in command at 25-10.
Fredric Michalak's third penalty stretched the French lead and although Tyrone Howe's converted try gave them hope with 15 minutes remaining, RBS Man of the Match Jean-Baptiste Elissalde marked his first start at scrum-half with the try that sealed Ireland's fate.
Ireland, beaten 43-21 by France in the World Cup quarter-finals and with only one win in Paris in the last 30 years, took a sixth-minute lead when Elissalde was penalised for interference at the base of the Irish scrum. Ronan O'Gara landed the resulting penalty from 40 metres.
Michalak levelled the scores with a 21st-minute penalty when O'Gara strayed offside in the front of the posts after the French pack had stolen a scrum against the head.
Then France stepped up a gear and took the lead three minutes later with a Vincent Clerc try. Michalak's reverse pass in midfield unleashed centre Damien Traille on the crash ball and, with the Irish defence sucked in, Michalak and Brusque handled swiftly to put Clerc over on the right touchline.
Michalak fluffed his attempted conversion, but added a second penalty on the half hour to give France an 11-3 lead which they held for the remainder of the half.
Ireland made a spirited start to the second half with skipper Paul O'Connell leading by example and when scrum-half Peter Stringer neatly switched play, O'Gara chipped ahead and gathered to send Anthony Foley over with O'Gara adding the conversion.
The French lead had been cut to one point, but the riposte was almost instant, Serge Betsen engineered a break for Fabien Pelous whose inside pass found Pieter de Villiers, but Girvan Dempsey's tackle dislodged the ball when a try looked to be on the cards.
Ireland's reprieve was short-lived, however. Full-back Nicolas Brusque led a dazzling French counterattack, Dominici managed to offload in the tackle to Betsen and he sent Pape over for a debut try beside the posts. Michalak's conversion made it 18-10 and France were back in control.
Ireland were still reeling when Elissalde's quick pass enabled Traille to send Jauzion through a gap for a third French try. Michalak converted and there looked to be no way back for the Irish at 25-10 down.
Michalak landed a third penalty to turn the screw, but the Irish refused to lie down and Howe forced his way over for a try after Gordon D'Arcy, playing in place of the injured Brian O'Driscoll, made a half break and then managed to offload in the tackle.
O'Gara's conversion made it 28-17, but Elissalde wrapped up victory when he sold John Hayes a dummy and darted over for a try and Michalak converted for 35-17.