The Palais Omnisport de Paris Bercy roared their approval as Yoan Decimus anchored the host nation to a spectacular victory in a national record of 3:06:17.
Behind, Great Britain had to settle for silver in 3:06.46 with Belgium adding another major championship relay medal with bronze (3:06.57).
Hopes were high France could sign off the championships with another gold medal, especially as their powerful looking quartet boasted the individual 400m champion Leslie Djhone running the second leg.
After the end of the first leg, though, Belgium, thanks to the 2010 European outdoor 400m No.1 Jonathan Borlee held a three metre lead ahead of Great Britain, who were led out by Nigel Levine on the first leg. Russia were sat just behind in third thanks to the efforts of 400m fourth placer Dmitry Buryak with France back in fourth.
Djhone appeared to be badly baulked during a bad exchange from French first leg athlete Marc Macedot and appeared to lose important ground. In fact, entering the back straight for the first time the European Indoor 400m gold medallist was at least 10m down on the Belgian second leg runner Antoine Gillet.
Yet Djhone is currently brimming with confidence and he stormed around the two laps to eat up the gap on the rest of the field and by the time he handed the baton on to third leg runner Mamoudou Hanne France held a joint lead with Belgium. It was a scintillating leg. Meanwhile, Russia and Great Britain were placed just behind, still very much in the medal picture.
The penultimate leg saw France strengthen their gold medal challenge. Hanne ran a mature leg to give Decimus, the French anchor, a two metre lead from Great Britain. Russia still sat third a couple of metres further back while Belgium had faded to fourth.
On anchor, Decimus held firm and was never seriously challenged by his nearest pursuer Richard Buck, of Great Britain, the individual 400m bronze medallist. Indeed while Decimus was romping to victory the Briton had to work hard to hold off the challenge of European outdoor 400m champion Kevin Borlee, who produced an inspired final leg to drag his country from fourth – fifth at one stage – to bronze.
Russia, the European outdoor 4x400m champions, had to be content with fourth in 3:06.99 and Poland placed fifth in 3:09.31.