The Scots were given a roasting in the south of France on Saturday night, crashing 32-3 in Nice, and Townsend has called for his players to make swift amends when Les Bleus come to BT Murrayfield this weekend.
The coach said he will now ponder whether to make sweeping changes or task most of the team who flopped so badly to go out and put things right.
“We had a plan for the first two games and there are going to be a number of changes for next week,” said Townsend. “It might [now] be fewer, but we will have a look at where we are.
“There’s a lot of work to do. We expected a better performance.
“We go into every game we play, no matter the opponent, with the aim of winning and we believed as players and coaches that we were well-prepared for that game.
“Obviously that wasn’t correct. We missed parts of that first half just from not being in place quick enough to stop France getting quick ball and then not capitalising on opportunities we did have.
“France were very good, they seemed like they were in really good condition. We know our players are in very good physical condition but obviously the match conditioning fell short but we will be better for the experience.”
One bright spot for Scotland was the return of centre Duncan Taylor, who played for 48 minutes.
“He was excellent,” said the coach. “He was one of our best players. I thought his work in defence was outstanding. We were on the back foot so to put that performance in having not played a game of rugby in a year, and not played international rugby in two years, was excellent.”