Shouts of joy erupted Sunday and a sea of French flags flew in the courtyard of the Louvre museum in the heart of Paris as a giant screen flashed up Emmanuel Macron's resounding election victory.
Thousands of mainly youthful supporters had gathered by the glass pyramid in the world-famous courtyard, many wearing the T-shirt of 39-year-old Macron's centrist movement En Marche ("On the Move").
"He's a symbol of hope," said Jean-Luc Songtia, 36. "It's like Obama eight years ago. It's youth, it's hope."
Under extremely tight security, hundreds of the some 1,800 journalists accredited for the event were still trying to get into the grounds when Macron's victory was announced.
"We've won!" the crowd chanted as if at a football match following Macron's thumping victory estimated at around 65 to 35 percent over far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
"He killed her, that's all there is to it," said 31-year-old Abdel Oukil. "I was convinced she would score over 40 percent."
Fabien Colonna, 29, said he was relieved by the decisive margin, saying "if it was less it would have been dicey," after a bruising campaign that exposed France's deep economic and social divisions.
The high abstention rate of around 25 percent worried Sylvie Semet, 58, who said it meant "that people don't feel they are represented, they feel forgotten."
She added: "Macron had better work hard, because people are ready to pounce."
Macron was to address the crowds after delivering a sober five-minute televised address from his party headquarters nearby in which he vowed to heal the "divisions that have undermined France".
© 2017 AFP