The gendarme, who was part of the security operation in place to protect Hollande accidentally fired his weapon while the president was making a speech to inaugurate a new high speed rail line in the Charente region of western France.
The local authority for Charente confirmed the incident in the town of Villognon, although the circumstances surrounding how the officer discharged his weapon are not yet known.
With France on a high state of terror alert the incident would understandably have sent pulses racing among the the president's security team, the police and gendarmes on duty and not least panicked the president himself.
In the video below Hollande is clearly startled by the shot but does not panic. He pauses whilst looking in the direction of where the shot came from, before saying “I hope it's nothing serious.”
He then says “I don't think so,” before continuing his speech.
Coup de feu pendant le discours de François Hollande à Villognon lors de l'inauguration de la LGV Tours Bordeaux pic.twitter.com/c0Sp5dpLty
— F3 Poitou-Charentes (@F3PoitouChtes) February 28, 2017
Two people were left injured.
He made a “mistake in the handling (of the firearm) while changing positions,” an informed source said. A bullet was then discharged accidentally.
Local government chief Pierre N'Gahane said the gendarme “had been standing on an elevated point and the gun went off accidentally”.
“The bullet grazed one person's calf and then lodged in another person's leg, a source told AFP, adding that the victims were both in the VIP section at the time.
Firefighters evacuated them but said their injuries were “light”.
French prosecutors have launched an immediate investigation.
This is not the first mishap to occur during one of Hollande's speeches.
While he was running for the presidency a woman threw flour over him as he wrapped up a speech on housing problems, in protest over housing laws not being applied.
A shoe was thrown at him at another event on the campaign trail.
He said such events were “occupational hazards” but his security detail was boosted from two to 14 bodyguards after the flour attack.