We made too many mistakes - Gatland
Wales coach Warren Gatland highlighted individual errors and France's greater passion as Wales lost 21-16 in Paris.
"With us 13-3 up and half-time coming we needed more accuracy," he said after his first Six Nations loss with Wales.
"[Before France's 40th-minute try] Andy Powell gave a soft penalty, we were free-kicked, Lee Byrne dropped an up-and-under, Ryan Jones missed a tackle.
"Perhaps emotionally they were more desperate than we were, they wanted it a bit more... sometimes that happens."
Gatland, who led Wales to the 2008 Grand Slam in his first season in charge, said France were full value for their victory, although his side were upset by an incident in the dying moments as they pushed for a winning try.
"We could have sneaked it at the end," the Kiwi told BBC Sport.
"The guys were upset at the last line-out, France just barged us off it and we didn't have chance to play.
"But that's rugby and we weren't good enough on the night.
"I was disappointed with the first half, we were poor at the collision, an area we've been good at for the last 12 months or so.
"We've got to think about Italy [in Rome on 14 March] and getting some points on the board.
"Then it's Ireland at home we'll see if we can win the Championship on points."
Second-half spirit pleases Harinordoquy
Captain Ryan Jones insists Wales will bounce back from Friday's defeat.
He said: "We have to get over this quickly. It's not going to be pretty viewing and it will be tough for some individuals, me included.
"But that's Test match rugby, there's no hiding place. But we've still got a Triple Crown and a championship to play for.
"We were beaten by the better team but we will come back stronger from this."
France number eight Imanol Harinordoquy hailed the spirit of his team in the Stade de France thriller.
"It was very difficult, they attacked a lot and they gave a lot of energy in the last phase of the match but our defence did great," the man-of-the-match told BBC Sport.
"I think we won thanks to the defence and the spirit of the team. We showed another face. We came out with spirit and we wanted to win to show what we can do.
"There was a lot of pressure [on coach Marc Lievremont] because there was a lot of criticism in the week after two not very good matches.
"[This] was another France, I hope we can continue like this.
"England [France's next game] will be hard, I hope we will win and perhaps win the tournament."
Lievremont added: "I am extremely proud of the team. We proved we are hard-working and our fight was exceptional.
"It's always difficult to play as underdogs but we played very well. The victory went against all logic seeing our complicated preparation with just five days training - we can't do that every time.
France had done their homework - Jones
"But the players proved they are capable of playing at this level of intensity. We raised the bar. We need to string results like this together now."
Wales fly-half Stephen Jones and centre Tom Shanklin both say Wales can bounce back in their remaining two games to successfully defend their Six Nations title.
"It's very disappointing, we didn't get our game going, we didn't get any go-forward, we weren't efficient in the contact area, didn't get any clean ball and made too many basic errors which we haven't [been doing]," said Jones.
"There's two very difficult games for us, Italy in Rome will be a big challenge so we've got to do our homework and get back to winning ways."
Shanklin added: "It's a tough, tough pill to swallow. The Grand Slam's gone, but the Championship is not.
"The game went away from us at the end of the first half. We needed to play smarter and played too much in our own half.
"We're pretty down now, but there are two games left and we've got to play well in them."