Rafa Echenique was still leading the Open de France ALSTOM as he reached the turn in his third round, but England’s Paul Waring and Germany’s Martin Kaymer had halved his advantage to a single shot.
After scoring 65 and 67 in his first two rounds the young Argentine - runner-up in Munich last week - dropped a shot at his first hole of the day.
Back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth re-established his advantage but another bogey at the eighth confirmed a level par front nine 36.
At ten under, Echenique was a stroke clear of Waring and Kaymer.
The 24 year old Waring was three under through 11 holes thanks largely to an eagle at the par five third.
Kaymer, who equalled Le Golf National course record in the first round but was ten shots worse off in the second, scored consecutive birdies at the sixth and seventh to remain firmly in contention for what would be his third European Tour title.
Charl Schwartzel was on his own at eight under, one ahead of Peter Hanson and Steve Webster, while Ian Poulter’s 66 had had set the clubhouse target at six under.
“I didn't miss a fairway,” said the English Ryder Cup star. “Didn't miss a green so it was pretty flawless - apart from the second shot into the last which I thought was pathetic, I was already thinking about my lunch which is stupid - it was pretty clinical.
“I holed a 30 footer on the seventh, a 40-50 footer on the 16th and then missed a stack of eight footers so it was a bit silly really.”