Cardiff Blues centre Garyn Smith was a second half try scorer as Wales Under-20s kicked off the World Rugby U20 Championship, in Italy, with a 19-10 defeat to France.
France led 12-3 at half time and held on, despite a spirited comeback from a Wales side who play England in their next game.
In glorious conditions, Wales could not have made a worst start, France taking the lead inside seven minutes when a Dafydd Howells kick was charged down for Arthur Bonneval to cross for his side's opening try.
Six minutes later it was 12-0 as Thomas Ramos nipped in at the corner for a try the full back duly converted.
Wales were careless with ball in hand and chances came and went as hooker Ryan Elias and scrum half Tom Williams amongst those who had try scoring opportunities during the game.
Outside half Dan Jones kicked Wales' only points of the first half through a penalty.
If the first half had been somewhat disappointing, the second was hugely frustrating. Wales had plenty of ball, but knocked on with alarming regularity.
From one such error, France broke from their own 22 through Ramos and centre Damian Penaud. The latter flicked a neat inside pass to Lucas Blanc who galloped over. Ramos converted but kept Wales in the game with a series of missed penalties.
With 19 minutes remaining, a line-out deep in the French 22 provided a platform from which a try finally came.
The Welsh forwards showed patience in driving to the line and when the ball came out to Smith, the Blues centre muscled his way over for his club and regional team mate Jarrod Evans to convert.
A flurry of opportunities ensued, but once again, careless handling and wrong options cost Wales the chance of at least closing the gap further. In the end, France held on and kicked off the race to win Pool A with a valuable victory.
Wales Under 20 v France: Dafydd Howells (Ospreys); Lloyd Lewis (Dragons), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Garyn Smith (Blues), Joshua Adams (Scarlets), Dan Jones (Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Blues); Luke Garrett (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Rory Thornton (Ospreys, captain), Tom Phillips (Scarlets), Ollie Griffiths (Dragons), Harrison Keddie (Dragons)
Replacements : Liam Belcher (Blues), Keagan Bale (Dragons), Leon Brown (Dragons), Seb Davies (Blues), Jon Fox (Ospreys), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Jarrod Evans (Blues), Barney Nightingale (Dragons)