The last decade saw perceptions about Ireland's relationship with the French rugby team shift and, when he was covering a clash between the two sides at the Stade de France for RTÉ a couple of seasons ago, former Munster No.8 James Coughlan noted a creeping note of complacency that didn't chime with his own experience.
The Corkman has been working in the French rugby heartlands since he joined Pau in 2014. When he retired, he took up a role coaching with the club, before moving to Aix-en-Provence and then on to Brive, where he assists Jeremy Davidson with the defence at the Top14 club.
All the while he's been studying for a post-grad qualification run by the French rugby union that has brought him into the belly of the beast at the French federation headquarters at Marcoussis.
And, while he appreciates that Irish fans may have grown used to beating France on a semi-regular basis after enjoying a record of six wins, two draws and just one defeat in the last nine meetings, he believes we are witnessing a French rugby revolution.
After the chaos of Marc Lievremont, Guy Noves and Jacques Brunel, former France captain Fabien Galthié took over as coach after the last World Cup and assembled a high quality team of assistants that includes former Wales defence guru Shaun Edwards and ex-Racing 92 coach Laurent Labit.
When he named his initial squad for the Six Nations in January, the former scrum-half included 19 uncapped players.
What could easily be labelled as some stereotypically chaotic Gallic extravagance was, in reality, a reflection on the most promising generation of players the country has produced in decades.
France won the Under-20 World Cup in 2018 and 2019 and, with the 2023 World Cup taking place on home soil, they are determined to make the most of the opportunity.
They burst into the championship by beating England and Italy at home and Wales away, before showing some vulnerabilities in their defeat to Scotland.
Last Saturday, they warmed up for Ireland by hammering Wales at an empty Stade de France, and Coughlan believes Ireland must be wary what's coming.
"They've set themselves up, especially with their coaching group, they've taken guys who have won Top14s," he explains.
"Everyone knows Galthié, but Laurent Labit has won two French championships with different clubs. Shaun Edwards, we all know about him, there's Karim Ghezal - the lineout coach was with Lyon who were the best lineout in the league.
"They'll be all guns blazing to win a Six Nations and there's a group of young players coming through, with the 2023 World Cup at home."
Whereas previously Ireland had the edge in organisation and fitness, Coughlan sees no disparity now.
"I remember doing the France v Ireland match for RTÉ a few years ago in Paris and listening to Brent Pope before the game saying the French lads won't be as fit as the Ireland lads," he recalled. "I was thinking 'do we still have these ideas that the French lads come to work and then go away at 12pm not having done a stroke?'
"The strength and conditioning departments in the Irish provinces are all world-class, and maybe the French were a bit behind, but you look at the quality of young lads coming through.
"They've won the last two Under-20 World Cups, they're nearly guaranteed to be at the semi-final of the World Cup.
"They've probably the biggest pool of players to pull from. If you asked ROG (Ronan O'Gara) or Prendy (Mike Prendergast) at La Rochelle and Racing, they'd tell you the same, the boys work as hard as everyone else."
"I've been on the players' side of it with the gym sessions and training sessions, the S&C, the GPS - all that stuff we did at home they do here.
"Naturally, they have some really talented players all across the park."
Coughlan lists them out, citing the Toulouse contingent he coached against recently which includes the tough forwards like Cyril Baille and Julien Marchand and the maestros behind the scrum Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack and Thomas Ramos.
Behind the scenes, the team are being hampered less and less by club v country conflict and the FFR reached an agreement with the league that will see them operate off the current squad for this block of games, before releasing them back to their clubs and picking a whole new panel for the Autumn Nations Cup.
It is working for the French and Coughlan believes they'll be more battle-hardened than their visitors.
"The Irish lads have played how many competitive games? The French lads have been in quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals of Heineken Cup or the Challenge Cup.
"The Top 14 is competitive every week. You know yourself, if Irish teams come to France or French teams go to Ireland it's a big weekend.
"They're organising things behind the scenes now too. Before, it was the only league where the federation had no control over the players. They had the World Rugby window, but the lads were bringing their strength programmes from their clubs, not the one for international - small stuff like that. They're starting to get their act together now.
"We get the coaches calling us and offering to send someone down for a chat about how we're doing our defence, how we're doing our lineout or our attack."
After muddling along for so long on the back of the calibre of players available, France are starting to make the most of their resources.
And that could be bad news for everyone else.