Kia Nurse of Hamilton scored 10 points to lead 10th-ranked Canada, which rallied from a 17-point deficit to make it a one-point game down the stretch.
"Today was an amazing opportunity again for us to play one of the best teams on the world, basically on their homecourt. We dug ourselves into a huge hole to start the game but showed tremendous resolve and toughness," said Canadian coach Lisa Thomaidis. "Our offence wasn't up to par tonight but it's a great learning opportunity to know what we need to improve upon to be beating some of these top teams in the world."
The Canadians were using the tour as a tuneup for the Pan American Games next month in Toronto, followed by the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament in Edmonton in August.
Canada got off to a sluggish start, going scoreless for the first five minutes and trailing 13-4 after one quarter. France went into halftime up 28-14. The Canadians rallied in the third and trailed just 35-32 after three quarters, and then pulled to within a point before France pulled away over the final few minutes.
"The first half was very disappointing. It's hard to play against France in France, but we made a bit of a comeback in the second half and gave them a good game," said Miranda Ayim, a forward from London, Ont. "We have a lot of things to work on but it is great to play against one of the best teams in Europe."
The next key portion of Canada's summer is the Pan Am Games — the women's basketball runs July 16-20 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.