It's the latest sign that hefty monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank, a weak euro and lower oil prices are working their magic in the euro zone, helping provide a strong buffer from turbulence in debt-struck Greece.
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"France is the industrial, manufacturing, business confidence laggard of Europe, so to see France turning the corner is very important," Michael Browne, fund manager at Martin Currie, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" after the release of the French data.
"It means we have growth in the U.K., we have growth in Germany, Italy is clearly turning the corner and now France is coming on board."
Asked whether it was premature to call a recovery in Europe, which has lagged U.S. economic growth for years, Currie said he saw an improvement in economic conditions in the second half of the year.
"2016, for me, looks like possibly the best year for Europe since 2005," he added. "It's been a long wait."
Economic growth in the 19-member euro zone rose 0.4 percent in the first quarter, the strongest quarterly expansion since the second quarter of 2013.