Wales flanker Justin Tipuric admitted he and his teammates had been feeling the pressure on them, ahead of their second Six Nations game.
The Ospreys man got a rare start at No.7, with regular captain Sam Warburton absent injured, and said it was "a great feeling" to win in Paris.
Fly half Dan Biggar, who set up the decisive try for George North with a delicate kick through, said: "we're ecstatic about the win - the character and the effort and the sheer guts of the boys was evident, and is something which will stand us in great stead."
George North scored the only try in a 16-6 victory in Paris. Wales celebrated hard, after ending a run of eight defeats in a row.
Wales prepare to face Les Bleus at Stade de France later, as they fight to stay in this season's Six Nations title race.