Speaking at the Paris police's command centre, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 36,000 people were protesting across France, including 5,500 in the capital.
The latest count released by Paris police said there had been 122 arrests by around 2pm but that number could rise further.
Most of those arrested were held after clashed between police and protesters at the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Champs-Elysees.
Police fired tear gas into the ranks of masked protesters who hurled with rocks and missiles in the other direction.
Some 1,500 “agitators”, many throwing rocks and construction barricades at police, were active alongside “peaceful” protesters massed at the Arc de Triomphe and other areas near the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said earlier on Saturday.
“200 peaceful demonstrators on the Champs Elysees. 1,500 agitators outside the security perimeter who came to fight,” Castaner said on Twitter, adding that 39 arrests had been made.
Junior Minister Laurent Nunez said there were around 3,000 “casseurs” – which is how the French describe rioters intent on causing trouble and confronting police – involved in the trouble at the Arc de Triomphe.
The famous Place de L'Etoile was evacuated in the early afternoon.
A more peaceful demonstration involving around 1,000 gilets jaunes (yellow vests) took place on the Champs-Elysées.
Trouble originally flared at around 9am when a group of protesters tried to break through a police check point to get onto the famous avenue.
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