"Only maximum diplomatic pressure is likely to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table" and stop it from obtaining "an operational and guided nuclear arsenal", foreign ministry spokesperson Agnès Romatet-Espagne said in a statement.
"This launch, like the one that North Korea carried out on 4 July, shows the determination of the North Korean regime to place the entire international community within range of its missiles," the statement went on.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the test "is meant to send a grave warning to the US" and demonstrated the North's ability to launch "at any place and time," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced.
The French statement described Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic programme as a "growing and unacceptable threat for all" and called on the European Union to take "ambitious measures" independently of the UN and other countries.
China condemned the test but US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Beijing and Moscow bore "unique responsibility" for Pyongyang's “belligerent” pursuit of nuclear weapons.