The Six Nations champions face Les Bleus in Cardiff, with the victor avoiding a quarter-final with New Zealand next weekend.
However, despite suggestions that Ireland have kept their powder dry ahead of the France clash, O'Connell is adamant that his teammates do hold back for any game.
He told reporters: "We haven't been keeping anything up our sleeve. If we're going to live by the philosophy that we've lived by in the last two years that we take each game in turn and that the next game's the most important one, then we need to carry that through.
"I believe it's important that we've done that over the last few months and we've tried plenty of plays in games but they just haven't come off as well as we would have liked.
"That's probably reflected in some of our results and some of those summer games as well, so we haven't held anything back. We've put everything into this week and we'll do the same the week after."
The winner of Pool D will face Argentina, who beat both Ireland and France en route to the semi-finals in 2007.