Tigers captain Martin Corry moves to the second row, where he is joined by London Wasps lock Tom Palmer.
White starts in the front row alongside Tigers team-mate George Chuter and Wasps prop Tim Payne, while Harry Ellis is joined at half-back by Newcastle's Toby Flood.
All in all, Ashton makes eight changes in personnel, plus a further two positional switches from the side that lost to Ireland just over a week ago.
London Irish centre Mike Catt takes over from the injured Phil Vickery as captain with Ashton confident that he will do a good job for his country.
"I have known Mike since 1992 when he came across to this country from South Africa and if there is one player who knows the way I want to develop this game it's him," said Ashton. "He is full of experience and enthusiasm and I am putting my money on him to help deliver the type of game I want England to play.
"The captaincy is not a long-term thing and he knows that but I just feel that with the situation we are in we need somene with his experience. Martin Corry has a change of position and although he has played in the second row for England before, he'll have enough on his plate without the captaincy."
There are first starts for Flood and Tom Rees as well as the return of Jason Robinson and a positional switch from wing to full-back for Josh Lewsey (London Wasps).
Vickery is still suffering from the symptoms of concussion he suffered playing for London Wasps on Sunday and is therefore ruled out of contention.
The scan on Jonny Wilkinson's right hamstring has revealed a strain and he will not be fit for Sunday.
Although there has been some improvement to Andy Farrell's acute lower back, the pain has not abated sufficiently for him to participate at the weekend, while Steve Borthwick's rib problem has not yet permitted him to train.
All will be assessed and treated over the next few days.
England side to face France
15 Josh Lewsey (London Wasps)
14 David Strettle (NEC Harlequins)
13 Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby
12 Mike Catt (capt, London Irish)
11 Jason Robinson (Sale Sharks)
10 Toby Flood (Newcastle Falcons)
9 Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers)
1 Tim Payne (London Wasps)
2 George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)
3 Julian White (Leicester Tigers)
4 Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers)
5 Tom Palmer (London Wasps)
6 Joe Worsley (London Wasps)
7 Tom Rees (London Wasps)
8 Nick Easter (NEC Harlequins)
16 Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
17 Stuart Turner (Sale Sharks)
18 Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
19 Magnus Lund (Sale Sharks)
20 Shaun Perry (Bristol Rugby)
21 Shane Geraghty (London Irish)
22 Mathew Tait (Newcastle Falcons)