The victim was an 80-year-old woman from China’s Hubei province, according to French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn.
She arrived in France on 16 January and was placed in quarantine in hospital in Paris on 25 January, she said.
Only three deaths had previously been reported outside mainland China – in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan.
However, more than 1,500 people have died from the virus within China, mostly in Hubei where it first emerged.
A further 2,641 people have been newly confirmed as infected, bringing the China’s total to 66,492.
France has previously said it has 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus, officially called Covid-19, and six remain in hospital.
The deceased woman’s daughter has also been infected, Ms Buzyn said, but she is believed to be recovering.