French overseas territories and the country’s nationals abroad have been casting their ballots in the presidential election ahead of the vote on the mainland.
In Cayenne in French Guiana they went to the polls on Saturday, a day ahead of the main first-round vote.
The reason: so as not to be influenced by the results due on Sunday night European time.
“We want to show the French government that we’re mobilised, even in voting. It would be meaningless not to vote so it’s important to express our voice through the vote and to show the French State that we’re French,” said one resident in Cayenne, named as Katia.
Strikes in French Guiana that lasted almost a month have been lifted after the government in Paris pledged a multi-billion euro aid package.
In some areas of the United States French nationals also began voting on Saturday.
The election of Donald Trump under six months ago gave voters food for thought as they queued in the rain at the French Embassy in Washington.
“I think it’s a turning point for France, given what is going on with Brexit, and what is going on with Trump. This motivated me to come here today to vote,” Elodie Domenge said as she turned up at the polling station.
“It’s a bit special election essentially because there are many candidates. It’s very open. Anything can happen. And this is why people take action,” added a male voter.
Another man said recent elections and controversies surrounding them meant the French vote had a global dimension.
Such scenes are to be repeated all over France in an election that is seen as the most important – and the most unpredictable – in years.