Life insurance in France is called assurance vie. This is a saving policy which invests your money for retirement but will pay out in the case of death before the term is completed.
With a French mortgage lender or bank loan you will need to take out a life insurance policy. The lender will offer you their policy but you are not obliged to take it and may find a better policy by shopping around.
Insurance that is intended to pay out only in the event of death is called assurance décès.
You need to check carefully what is covered in the assurance décès. The rate will vary considerably with the terms of the cover – for instance if it is for accident or for illness or both, and according to your state of health, age and job (if you are employed in France check whether your company covers you for these policies).
There are also insurance policies which are intended to help with funeral costs – assurance obsequies.
As with all documentation, check the small print, make sure you understand all the terms clearly – get help with translation or expert guidance if need be.