Scotland remain in search of a first win of this year's Six Nations after Rugby World Cup finalists France earned a narrow 23-17 victory in Edinburgh on Sunday.
Murrayfield was given a glimpse of Scotland's potential, but the hosts fell short once more as Les Bleus clawed back an early 10-0 deficit and responded swiftly to going 17-13 down midway through the second half to triumph.
Scotland, who lost to England and Wales earlier this month, have beaten France once in 13 attempts in Six Nations competition - in 2006 - and have now lost five successive Test matches for the first time since 2004, when they finished with the Wooden Spoon.
It is a record which will lead to further conjecture over the future of Andy Robinson, the head coach, who now has two wins from 13 Six Nations fixtures in charge - but there were illustrations of why the former England boss retains belief in his charges.
Stuart Hogg, the fullback, and Lee Jones, the winger, scored their first Test tries, Greig Laidlaw kicked five points and Duncan Weir two, while the forward pack - as demanded by Robinson - went toe-to-toe with a formidable French unit.
Ultimately the class of France, who meet Ireland, England and Wales in the next three weeks, told, as Wesley Fofana and Maxime Medard scored tries, Morgan Parra kicked two conversions and two penalties and Lionel Beauxis a drop goal.
There were mitigating factors in the defeat - Rory Lamont suffered an apparently serious knee injury, Mike Blair received a dead leg and Laidlaw a head injury - but it does not hide the fact that unless victory in Dublin is claimed in two weeks' time, Scotland could be facing a Wooden Spoon decider in Italy on the final day of the championship. Ross Rennie, the Scotland flanker, could not hide his frustration at the result. "We put in another massive effort and to come away with nothing is disappointing," Rennie said on BBC2. "The French are awesome and we let them be good, so that's very frustrating."
Rennie had words of praise for Hogg's display. "Hogg made a couple of outstanding breaks, he's really one to watch," he said. "But it's pretty disappointing [to lose]."