France 46 Italy 20
England stand in the way of France and their first Grand Slam for six years after Les Bleus blew away Italy in Paris to put one hand on the RBS 6 Nations trophy.
Only Martin Johnson's men can stop the French now after they extended their best ever run under coach Marc Lievremont to four successive wins with a comprehensive six-try rout of the outclassed Azzurri at Stade de France.
France won the championship on points difference in 2006 and 2007 and, if this year's title is to come down to such margins, another feast today has surely made Ireland's task almost impossible even if England were to defy the odds in Paris on Saturday week.
Centre David Marty, preferred in the starting line-up to Mathieu Bastareaud, justified Lievremont's selection by scoring two tries in eight minutes, both while Italy were down to 14 men with Gonzalo Garcia in the sin bin.
Winger Marc Andreu and flanker Alexandre Lapandry both scored their first tries for their country, the former on his home debut.
With other tries coming from Imanol Harinordoquy and Yannick Jauzion, and Morgan Parra kicking seven goals from nine attempts, the French were heading for a landslide victory as they led 46-6 after 65 minutes.
But the Azzurri produced a spirited rally which brought them late tries through replacements Carlo Del Fava and Pablo Canavosio and Mirco Bergamasco added both conversions to two early penalties to give the score a touch of respectability which looked unthinkable for an hour when France were simply irresistible.
The French pack quickly asserted their authority to give half-backs Francois Trinh-Duc and Parra, making a seventh consecutive start together, the platform to unleash their dangerous three-quarters, while Clement Poitrenaud added an extra cutting edge from full-back.
It was Parra who created the game's first try, jinking his way through the Italian defence to get Harinordoquy over and he kicked the first of two penalties to make it 10-0.
The Italians' cause was made all the more difficult on 17 minutes when centre Garcia, fresh from a spell in blood bin, was sent to the sin bin for an obstruction of Andreu, who has been released on an exciting touchline dash by Poitrenaud.
France immediately made the extra man count as Marty coasted through a gap in the stretched Azzurri defence to score his side's second try, with Parra extending their lead to 17-0 with the conversion.
Poitrenaud demonstrated his attacking flair again on 27 minutes to help get Harinordoquy into space and he sent Marty over for his second try while the Italians were still down to 14 men.
The visitors could do little right and when they managed to breach the French defence second rower Marco Bortolami was recalled for a forward pass by Garcia.
Coach Nick Mallett responded to the mounting crisis by withdrawing scrum-half Tito Tebaldi in favour of the more experienced Canavosio and Italy finally got points on the board just before the break when Mirco Bergamasco landed a 40-metre penalty.
Parra lost his 100% record when he failed to convert Marty's second try but he made amends with a long-range penalty two minutes into the second half.
Marty then thought he was on for a hat-trick after racing onto Parra's kick but he was ruled offside and instead Bergamasco pulled three points back with the resulting penalty.
That briefly encouraged the visitors and a neat pass out of the tackle by number eight Alessandro Zanni released Canavosio into space but Julien Bonnaire got back to preserve the French tryline.
If the Azzurri lacked a cutting edge, France were razor sharp and they quickly added to their try tally.
Andreu came in off his wing to produce a scything run that took him all the way to the line, and then produced the break that got Jauzion romping over.
Parra was off target for the second time with a long-range penalty but he was back in the groove on 65 minutes to convert a try by Lapandry, who produced a strong finish to a break from fellow replacement Julien Malzieu.
The Italians looked a dispirited lot as they gathered under the posts waiting for the conversion but they produced a spirited two-try rally to take some of the gloss off the French triumph.