Corinne Diacre saw her Clermont Foot side lose 2-1 away to Brest in her first game in charge.
The Ligue 2 fixture marked the first time that a woman had taken charge of a professional men's team in the top two tiers of a European league.
Diacre's spell got off to the ideal start as Souleymane Sawadogo gave Clermont an early lead, but her side lost to two second-half goals.
"It's never nice to lose, but you can't ignore Clermont this season," she said.
Diacre also celebrated her 40th birthday on Monday and was given a bouquet of flowers and a kiss on the cheek before kick-off by her Brest counterpart, Alex Dupont.
She was appointed in June in place of another female coach, Helena Costa, who quit before overseeing a game, accusing Clermont of "total amateurism" and a "lack of respect".
Former defender Diacre made 121 appearances for France and also captained the national side.
Brest finished seventh in the French second division last season, while Clermont came 14th, five points above the relegation places.