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Mr Le Drian told a conference in Qatar that Mr Putin had not achieved any of his aims, but that there had to be a ceasefire around the bombarded Ukrainian city of Mariupol before there could be negotiations.
He said the Russian invasion had united Ukraine and given a new impetus to the EU and Nato, while Russia was losing major markets for its energy exports.
The dialogue has to be "clear, with no naivety and a lot of firmness", Mr Le Drian said.
There has to be a ceasefire in Mariupol "as no one can negotiate seriously with a gun to the head", he said.
"But continue to speak to him so that when the time comes that he thinks the price being paid for his intervention in Ukraine is so high that it is better to negotiate, there is a way that allows the opening of discussions," Mr Le Drian said.
"It is for these reasons that President Macron continues to talk with President Putin, to obtain the conditions for a ceasefire first and negotiations after."
Mr Macron warned earlier against a verbal "escalation" of the conflict after US President Joe Biden called Mr Putin a "butcher" who "cannot remain in power".
The Kremlin said Mr Biden's comments threatened bilateral relations.