England (27) 55
Tries: Youngs 2, Watson, Ford, Nowell 2, Vunipola
Conversions: Ford 7
Penalties: Ford 2
France (15) 35
Tries: Tillous-Borde, Nakaitaci, Mermoz, Debaty, Kayser
Conversions: Plisson 2
Penalties: Plisson, Kockott
Ireland retained the Six Nations championship after England fell agonisingly short of the margin of victory required in defeating France in a record-breaking 90-point classic at Twickenham.
Stuart Lancaster's side needed victory by 26 points after Ireland's heavy win over Scotland had eclipsed Wales at the top of the table.
Ben Youngs and Jack Nowell both scored two tries but England were unable to stem the flow and despite having a late line out with an opportunity to win the title, France held out to deny them by six points.
Victory represents Ireland's third championship in the six country format and sees England denied their first title since 2011 in a year which will see them host the World Cup in the autumn.
After Wales had seen their reignited title hopes dashed by Ireland's own display of resolve in Edinburgh against Scotland, England barely had the destination of the championship in their own hands as they chased a daunting points total.
The 99th clash between England and France saw the home side require a win by 26 points over Philippe Saint-Andre's side, a margin of victory they had achieved just once in the nations's last 16 meetings and once in their last 11 internationals.
Despite having their own championship hopes ruined by Wales in Rome, France arrived following another harrowing championship performance and questions over the future of Saint-Andre.
And those concerns swelled inside just two minutes as lacklustre passing in the France backline was pounced upon as Jonathan Joseph fed George Ford, whose pass inside as finished by Youngs.
After Ford missed the chance to increase the lead, Jules Plisson ate into England's advantage with a penalty from in front of the posts to dampened the Twickenham atmosphere.
And as England continued to labour on missed opportunities, Les Blues stormed into the lead as Courtney Lawes spilled a pass and with an overlap Sebastian Tillous-Borde pulled away to score from 60 meters.
Any Six Nations hopes nearly evaporated before the mid-way point in the first half as Noa Nakaitaci stormed through a host of missed tackles to, despite a clumsy finish, extend France's advantage.
France were at their dangerous best, creating wave after wave of attacks on the England line at will while they were running down the clock.
Courtney Lawes escaped punishment for a late tackle on Plisson and the incident seemed to reinvigorate England and after Ford's penalty, Watson touched down in the corner after Youngs' weaving run.
With another 24 unanswered points required, England threw caution to the wind as Joseph ran from his own line and upon a penalty being won, Youngs broke through to grab a third try.
Joseph was running riot with the ball in hand, to such an extent that the French were forced into hauling back the Bath centre illegally off the ball leading to a penalty which Ford converted.
But within three minutes of the restart, with England requiring two converted tries, the hosts were deflated as Guilhem Guirado offloaded beautifully for Maxime Mermoz to score.
England responded once again as they desperately clung onto their Six Nations hopes and it was Youngs again providing the inspiration with the line break and Ford finishing off the move.
Rory Kockott's struck a penalty to reduce the areas but again it forced an England response as Nowell was put in to score his third try in his last four internationals.
However, the match took yet another twist as James Haskell was sin-binned for a trip and France punished the indiscipline as Vincent Debaty finished off Nakaitaci's run.
Danny Cipriani and Mako Vunipola were introduced and the changes, with England still down to 14 men, paid immediate dividends as Billy Vunipola powered over.
The contest continued to ebb and flow and upon winning a penalty after the restart, France plundered a fifth try as a catch and drive ended with Benjamin Kayser touching down.
Nowell broke through a tiring France defence to give England hope with six minutes left but the home side were unable to grab the converted try required in the final moments as a line out five meters out came and went as the title slipped through their fingers.