transit – Can you book a flight from place A to C, with a connection B which is in the opposite direction?


Yes, and it is often done. Not often so extreme as in your case, but it is possible, and I think I saw this few times in questions in this site (people that did it, not as duplicate of your question)

Air France (as example, as in your question) has a hub in Paris. If they want to have you as their passenger, they must allow such fares. And baggage will be transferred, without need to pass custom. Sometime they required you to collect and to send it in transfer desk (just for extra control, and ask you few things): baggage condition could be different. But it is seldom (AFAIK not in Paris, not with the exactly same airline).

Going in opposite direction is often done (within a continent), but also from southern Africa to southern America: often it is convenient to pass from Europe.

In any case, I would also check a multi city ticket: you depart from one city (in India), and return to a new city (in Japan), and just a layover in Paris (maybe you can stay few days, “for free”). This is done a lot of time (think business travelers, so maybe just few hours in the “destination” airport).