Record numbers of French citizens have registered to vote in this election. Nearly 45 million people. It's been a hard fought battle between twoleading candidates, Segolene Royal for the Socialist Party and Nicolas Sarkozy for the conservative Union for a Popular Movement.
Both are in their 50s, a relatively young age for French politicians, and both represent the prospect for a profound change in the country.
The polls were busy. Voters said this election is one of the most important in decades.
"It's very important because it could change a lot of things in France, depending on who wins," said one woman, Anne Milon, as she left a polling station in Paris. Another voter, Joseph Chiche, said he's had enough. France pays too much welfare, the hinese are invading France, and French businesses are closing. He said the situation just isn't acceptable.
Sarkozy and Royal are considered the frontrunners, but there are 12 candidates in total. Two others, the centrist Francois Bayrou and the leader of the far right National Front party, Jean Marie Le Pen, could also make it through to the second round of voting.
The top two finishers in this vote will go to the second round of voting on May 6.