The Economist's front cover showed seven loaves of "baguette" bread held together by a French tricolour with a lit fuse protruding from the centre. Its main article raised concerns that President Francois Hollande's economic reforms are not ambitious enough and so could jeopardise the future of the euro currency.
"Honestly, The Economist has never distinguished itself by its sense of even-handedness," Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said.
"It is the Charlie Hebdo of the City," he said, referring to the French satirical weekly which in September drew international criticism for publishing cartoons depicting a naked Prophet Mohammad.
Aside from doubts over the scale of its reform efforts, many economists and EU officials are sceptical that it can hit its target of cutting its public deficit to 3pc of output to 2013 as promised.
Failure to do so could prompt financial markets to demand higher yields for its bonds, which are currently held around record lows of twopc on the perception that France is, a long with Germany, a safe haven in the euro zone.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who on Thursday travelled to Berlin to explain France's efforts to boost its declining international competitiveness to Chancellor Angela Merkel, also denounced the cover.
"You are talking about a newspaper which is resorting to excess to sell paper. I can tell you that France is not at all impressed," he told French TV station.
Six months after his election, the Socialist Hollande has seen his popularity ratings plunge as he struggles to fulfil promises to reduce France's public deficit while kick-starting a domestic economy where unemployment has risen to 17-year highs.
His government surprised some observers with ambitious moves last week to grant €20 billion in annual tax credits to companies as a way of lowering the high labour costs seen as holding French industry back, but many economists believe the measures are not sufficient by themselves.
In his first formal news conference since coming to power, Hollande on Tuesday defied his critics by vowing to reform at his own pace and asked French voters to judge him at the end of his mandate in 2017.
He had some good news on Thursday as data showed France's economy unexpectedly grew by 0.2pc in the third quarter as households splashed out on clothing and other items, although the risk of recession next year is not averted.