A 76th minute penalty from Lloyd White secured the win for the Welsh, and it ultimately proved to be the difference at the Stade Municipal in Albi.
The win means that Wales will get two homes games in next year’s Four Nations as they join Australia, England and New Zealand in the tournament for 2011.
Welsh executive chairman believes that their qualification will only reap positive benefits for Welsh Rugby League.
“This is massive for Wales Rugby League,” he said.
“Some people have compared it to winning the Six Nations in rugby union but I think it’s bigger.
“The win shows how far we’ve come in such a short time. It’s our biggest achievement ever.”
Iestyn Harris, whose impressive spell in charge of the side looks set to earn him the head job with the Crusaders in the coming days, was pleased with the result, but was already looking ahead to next year.
“I’m very, very pleased,” he said.
“To beat an extremely good French team full of Super League standard players on their own soil is an achievement in itself.
“Now for Wales Rugby League – which has gone through some dark times over the past four or five years – to be in an elite world competition next year with the three best nations is a testament to everyone involved.
“It’s up to the powers that be now to decide whether we get a mid-season Test against one of the big three and there’s the prospect of the Four Nations after that.”