Reigning Six Nations champions Wales ended their dismal run of eight successive defeats by claiming a first win at Stade de France since 2005.
Winger George North's 73rd-minute try condemned pre-tournament favourites France to a second Six Nations loss this season after they were beaten by Italy in Rome last weekend.
And with fullback Leigh Halfpenny kicking three penalties and a conversion from his four shots at goal, Wales quickly consigned last Saturday's home defeat against Ireland to the history books.
Man-of-the-match Halfpenny told the BBC: "Words cannot describe how much this means - what a fantastic feeling.
"The boys played unbelievably well. We dug deep to get this fantastic win - it's been a long time coming."
It was their biggest victory in the French capital for 38 years, and keeps alive chances of retaining a Six Nations title they won in Grand Slam fashion last season.
France, though, are bottom of the championship, with two Frederic Michakal penalties their only scoring reward from a game that saw them booed off by a capacity crowd.
And a playing surface that cut up badly throughout the contest epitomised an ugly, scruffy French performance before Wales put them out of their misery by scoring 10 points during the final seven minutes.
France must now pick themselves up for successive trips to England and Ireland, while Wales face a Rome appointment with Italy in two weeks' time.
Although the title still appears to be out of reach for Wales, they have at least given themselves a fighting chance of again being in the mix for Six Nations silverware.
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