France ended their winless run with an ultimately comfortable win in Marseille to continue Italy’s Six Nations misery.
The hosts – playing a Six Nations home match away from Paris for the first time – wasted countless chances before eventually putting away a tiring Italy.
With centre Mathieu Bastareaud excelling on his return, France ran in three tries to win for the first time in nine games.
Italy have now lost a record 15 straight Six Nations matches.
Conor O’Shea’s side were in touch at half-time but had no answer to France in the second half, who missed several chances to pick up a fourth try and a bonus point, before full-back Matteo Minozzi’s late consolation try for Italy.
After defeats by Ireland and Scotland in their opening two games of the tournament and players dropped from the team following “inappropriate behaviour”, Jacques Brunel’s first victory as France coach was paramount.
His side, without a win in eight games, were disjointed at times, but eventually delivered.
Bastareaud, who had returned from suspension after making a homophobic comment while playing for Toulon, was key.