The gun attack on the Champs-Elysee came during a TV appearance by the eleven candidates in Sunday’s presidential ballot.
This forced the contenders, whether they liked it or not, to all give their reactions to the events, bringing the issue of security to the fore.
One of the candidates high in the polls, centrist Emmanuel Macron, said: “Our moral challenge today and for the years ahead is to not let us become divided, but also to prepare our future.
“What they want is a collapse in morality, to watch us fall into ruin. And I will not give in to this. We will not play with fear.”
Border security was highlighted by the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who is also leading in the polls with Macron.
She said: “I call for the restoration of our borders with regards to the Schengen agreement and immediate judicial measures against all people listed on the terrorism surveillance list.
“That means those in our country known for their belief in the ideology of the enemy.”
The right-wing candidate Francois Fillon also gave a tough reaction.
“My foreign policy priority will be the destruction of ISIL because it is threatening us directly. This will only be possible the day when all big powers really act together,” he said.
“The more the USA, Europe, Russia, Iran, Turkey and the Golf States are divided, the longer victory against Islamic totalitarianism will be delayed.”
The far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melanchon was against interrupting campaigning.
“No panic, don’t interrupt the process of our democracy to show the violent that they will not have the last word over republicans,” he said.
The candidate for the Socialists, Benoit Hamon, said: “We must cherish this democratic moment exactly because others hate it, notably the terrorists who kill.”