The team is aiming to qualify for the elite round of qualifying and need to finish in the top two of their group in Israel or be one of five best third placed teams across the groups.
Sadly their start towards the next stage took a blow as Mickael Cuisance scored a 65th minute penalty to seal the three points for the French.
There was also a red card for midfielder Matthew Lynch after he was given a second caution by Croatian referee Fran Jović.
Northern Ireland struggled to get a foothold in the match but towards the half time whistle Christopher Gallagher managed to pull a save from France number one Alban Lafont.
Then substitute Reece McGinley made an impact by also troubling Lafont after 61 minutes but it was just four minutes later that France would take control.
A foul by Liam McKenna in the box on Cuisance was judged to be a penalty and the striker also stepped up to score to put the French in the lead.
With eight minutes to go, Matthew Lynch got himself put in the book, and was then awarded a second yellow in stoppage time to leave Northern Ireland with 10 men.
The battle to make the elite stage of the UEFA under 17 Championship continues on Thursday as they face Norway.
Northern Ireland: Hargan, Lawlor © , McKenna, Sterling (66), Roscoe (54), Lynch, Parkhouse, Davidson (59), Burns, Gallagher, Toal. Subs: Larkin, White (59), Crane, McGinley (54), Browne (66), Maguire, Ferguson.
France: Lafont, Valery, Sarr, Zagadou, Nguiamba © (62), El Mokkedem, Cuisance, Taha, Fortune (78), Konate, Nsoki (41). Subs: Poussin, Kamara, Guitane (41), Fargeas (78), Bessile, Maolida, Mroivili,