The French Senate has approved a bill that makes it a criminal offence to deny that genocide was committed by Ottoman Turks against Armenians during World War I.
Turkey has threatened retaliation.
Armenia says up to 1.5 million people died in 1915-16 as the Ottoman empire split. Turkey rejects the term genocide and says the number was much smaller.
Turkish officials acknowledge that atrocities were committed, but argue that there was no systematic attempt to destroy the Armenian people
The BBC reports the measure will now be sent to President Sarkozy for final approval. His party put forward the bill.
The bill's passage in the lower house caused major tensions with Turkey.
Ankara froze ties with France after the vote last month and promised further measures if the Senate backed the proposal.
In the event, the Senate approved the bill by 127 votes to 86.
MPs in the lower house approved the bill last month, leading to tensions with Turkey.
Ankara froze ties with France after the vote and has promised further measures if the Senate backed the proposal.
France formally recognised the killings as genocide in 2001. It is one of more than 20 countries which have done so.
The BBC reports the bill means that anyone denying the deaths were genocide would face a jail term and a fine of 45,000 euros ($US58,000).
Istanbul says France should keep out of the argument, but France has half a million citizens of Armenian descent.
Correspondents say their votes may be important in this year's presidential elections.