The Blues, led by Hadrien Salvan, Wissam-Amazigh Yebba, Enzo Tesic and Roman Fuchs took third place in 7 min 6 sec 97, behind Hungary in gold and Italy in silver.
With this bronze medal, they open the counter of French swimming in Rome.
"It was an incredible moment. It launches the French team perfectly," said Hadrien Salvan, who broke his personal best.
"At the Worlds (six weeks ago), Léon (Marchand) had been world champion on the first day, we thought that if we could get a small medal, it would be good to start the thing. It's not as good but for us it's already huge."
Due to the disruption of the calendar due to the Covid pandemic, the European Swimming Championships, which take place in Rome from August 11 to 17, take place less than two months after the World Championships in Budapest.
The Blues had won eight medals in Hungary.
© 2022 AFP