Belfast Harlequins' full-back Mark Kettyle - who started in the 28-6 loss to England U-21 a fortnight ago - comes in for UCD's Ross McCarron, who injured himself in training.
McCarron - a former Leinster schools and Under-21 star - would have been making his debut at this level. UCC's Denis Hurley comes onto the bench.
That means there will be three changes from the line-up that was dusted down by the English at Donnybrook.
In the backs, captain Gareth Steenson returns from injury at fly-half, while Kieran Geraghty of London Irish gets an outing on the right wing.
Steenson is one of four Dungannon players on the side - with Ulster chipping in with nine in all.
With Saracens' Stuart Philpott sidelined, Corinthians' Joseph Merrigan starts at hooker.
Last season, Ireland earned a 20-20 draw away to France. Today's visitors have chalked up two wins over both Scotland (12-8) and England (20-17) in 2005, but lost to leaders Wales last time out, 20-19.
UNDER-21 SIX NATIONS: Friday, March 11Ireland U-21 v France U-21, Thomond Park, 7.00pm
(15) Mark Kettyle (Belfast Harlequins) (14) Kieran Geraghty (London Irish) (13) Andrew Trimble (Ballymena)(12) Greg Stafford (Lansdowne)(11) Paul McKenzie (Belfast Harlequins)(10) Gareth Steenson (Dungannon) (Captain)(9) David O'Leary (UCC)(1) Michael Diffley (Buccaneers)(2) Joseph Merrigan (Corinthians)(3) John Andress (Belfast Harlequins)(4) Lewis Stevenson (Belfast Harlequins)(5) Ryan Caldwell (Dungannon)(6) Brett McNamee (Northampton)
(16) Eamonn Bracken (Buccaneers)(17) Robert Quinn (UCC) (18) Mark Melbourne (Garryowen) (19) Chris Henry (Malone)(20) Paul Marshall (Ballynahinch)(21) Barry Keeshan (Cork Constitution)(22) Denis Hurley (UCC)
France U-21: Bejamin Dambielle; Mathieu Bourret, Vincent Roux, Sylvain Mirande, Florian Denos; Christophe Ruiz, Mickael Campeggia; Pierre Lafond, Fridiric Montagnat, Alexandre Bastin, Denys Drozdz, Looc Jacquet, Girald Gambetta (Capt), Fabien Alexandre, Aurilien Diotallevi.Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Yohan Months, Damien Fhvre, Damien Chouly, Fabien Cibray, Thibault Lacroix, Adrien Figueiredo.
Referee: Mauro Dordolo (Italy)Touch judges: Maurizio Vancini, Stefano Penne (both Italy)
Ireland Coach: Mark McDermottAssistant Coach: Brian WalshManager: David Haslett
Ireland Under-21s' Six Nations results:
Italy U-21 21 Ireland U-21 33, UdineScotland U-21 16 Ireland U-21 8, Falkirk Community StadiumIreland U-21 6 England U-21 28, Donnybrook
Fixtures to come:
Friday, March 18: Wales U-21 v Ireland U-21, Rodney Parade, Newport (7.00pm)