England led 10-9 at the break through Rusiate Tuima’s try and five points from the boot of Josh Hodge while Joris Moura kicked all of France’s points.
Second-half scores from Hodge and Tom Roebuck gave England a 24-12 lead but tries from Jordan Joseph and Ethan Dumortier levelled the game.
With just a minute remaining though Richard Capstick bundled over after England went through several phases to seal victory.
Alan Dickens’ side, who were fielding nine debutants at U20 level, started well and Hodge sent over an early penalty to give England the lead which Moura cancelled out inside 15 minutes. Soon after he put the hosts 6-3 ahead with a long-range penalty in a see-saw first half.
80' | FRA 24 - 29 ENG
TRY | UNBELIEVABLE!!! England go the length of the pitch and Richard Capstick is on hand to cross the whitewash and seal the win. Con missed. pic.twitter.com/Pk19fgUakf
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 1, 2020
France were putting England’s scrum under pressure as the half wore on and a further indiscretion saw them penalised and Maura land his third kick.
England bounced back immediately though, Max Ojomoh jinking his way through midfield before offloading to Tuima to power over which Hodge converted for a 10-9 lead.
Gabriel Hamer-Webb was sent to the sin bin with 25 minutes of the half remaining and Moura kicked France in the lead.
However, England were back in front on the hour through Hodge who collected the ball on halfway and seared his way through the France defence before stepping inside a final defender to cross.
Roebuck had a third England try, collecting a loose ball on halfway to run home unchallenged which Vunipola converted.
Joseph bundled over off the back of a 5m scrum to reduce the deficit, with Tiberghien converting for 19-24.
Emmanuel Iyogun and Paul Mallez were sent to the sin bin as the closing stages became increasingly frantic and Dumortier was over in the corner to level with five minutes remaining.
But England had one score left in them though and Capstick sealed the bonus point late on.
Dickens’s side will next take on Scotland in Myreside, Edinburgh on Friday, before a first home game against Ireland in Northampton, Franklin’s Gardens.