The victim was an 80-year-old man from China's Hubei province, according to French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn.
He arrived in France on 16 January and was placed in quarantine in hospital in Paris on 25 January, she said.
Only three deaths had previously been reported outside mainland China - in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan.
However, 1,523 people have died from the virus within China, mostly in Hubei where it first emerged. These include 143 deaths newly reported on Saturday by the country's national health commission.
A further 2,641 people have been newly confirmed as infected, bringing China's total cases to 66,492.
But China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday that the outbreak in Hubei was now being managed more effectively - "indicating that overall the epidemic is controllable".
Speaking at a security conference in Germany, Mr Wang said the number of people who had recovered reached more than 8,000 on Friday.
At the same meeting, the head of the World Health Organization said all countries should be prepared for the arrival of the virus,