"It was a call like any other, we debated it and we do believe we get a good balance with having both players available", said Schmidt on his choice of Sexton over Jackson.
A calf strain has sidelined Sexton for five weeks but he's been training fully since Tuesday, when skills coach Richie Murphy said he didn't have a "divine right to get picked".
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said the return of Sexton's field leadership was important, but credited the foul conditions and partisan home support with playing a potentially critical role against a physically powerful opponent. If they've done it in the past, they're more likely to replicate it. It was a very frustrating first half. Jackson scored a try against Scotland, and a record nine conversions against Italy.
Schmidt may have had his grievances, but there were plenty of positives at Lansdowne Road, not least the performances of the returning Sexton and influential Murray.
The third and final change for France is at tighthead prop, where Rabah Slimani starts in place of Uini Atonio who drops to the bench.
"It's very hard to come into a side and come off the bench when you haven't played".
The Six Nations is awarding bonus points for the first time this season, if a team score four or more tries or lose by seven or fewer points.
"Johnny has been in camp with us all through the campaign so far and he slotted in really well", said Murray. "We just want to get the ball and play".
The French have usually owned the Irish but have won in Dublin only once in 10 years.
Ireland: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jack McGrath, Rory Best (captain), Tadhg Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Devin Toner, CJ Stander, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip.