England rode their luck at times in the first half as the French women dominated possession but rarely found the killer pass.
Five minutes later England were ahead after France's goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi handled the ball outside the area. She was perhaps lucky to escape with just a yellow card, but further punishment came when Steph Houghton smashed the ball into the top corner.
After the break France continued to dominate possession but England rode their luck, surviving a couple of penalty appeals and relying on Siobhan Chamberlain in goal.
The French pressure told eventually when substitute Marie-Laure Delie finished well after the ball broke to her in the box.
Delie got her second eight minutes from time, lifting the ball over Chamberlain with a great finish after a defensive mix-up allowed her space on the edge of the box.