The visitors led through a Jessy Tremouliere penalty and Laure Sansus’ try before Emily Scarratt kicked six points from the tee to reduce England’s deficit to 8-6 by half-time.
The boot of Scarratt put the Red Roses in front with two more penalties, but France looked to have won it when Caroline Boujard crossed for a simple try after 67 minutes.
Both sides were reduced to 14 players, with Zoe Aldcroft receiving a yellow card for a neck roll at the breakdown, before England capitalised on a poor clearance kick and set up Thompson to seal the victory.
The match in pictures:
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