The 38-year-old, who is married to his former high school teacher, spoke about France's control of Algeria this week but his remarks have backfired spectacularly and he's been forced to apologise.
The independent En Marche! candidate was in Algeria when he made the comments which were immediately slammed back home.
Marine Le Pen is surging in the polls as Macron is forced to say sorry
I am sorry to have offended you
He was referencing French rule in Algeria which ran for 132 years until it won a bloody war of independence in 1962.
The war started after dissatisfaction emerged in the majority Muslim population who wanted political and economic autonomy from France.
Mr Macron said: "Colonisation is part of French history.
Macron cuddled up to politicians in Algeria
"It is a crime, a crime against humanity, it is a real barbarism.
"And it's part of the past and now we have to look forward and present our apologies regarding those to whom we have committed these acts. "
Almost as soon as he had made the statement Mr Macron was roundly slammed by the French commentariat and the public who were angered at the sentiment.
Wallerand de Saint-Just, an official in Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front party, accused Macron of "shooting France in the back."
While Gerald Darmanin, an ally of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, tweeted "Shame on Emmanuel Macron for insulting France while abroad".
Now he has been forced into an humiliating climb down on his own soil attempting to smooth over the row during a rally in Toulon yesterday.
About 100 demonstrators shouted "Macron, treason" outside the building where he made the speech and attempted to block the only entrance to the room.
More than 100 people campaigned outside of Macron's rally in Toulon yesterday
He said: "I am sorry to have offended you, to have hurt you.
"But we must face this common, complex past if we want to move on and get along."
Marine Le Pen has seen a surge in the polls in recent weeks as she attempts to become the first female French president.
She seized on former finance minister Macron's comments highlighting that he has spent much of the campaign overseas rather than in his homeland.
Marine Le Pen visited the police this week to pledge her support
Mr Macron has spent time in New York, made a plea for Americans to move to France and went to Africa this week.
But that has drawn criticism from Le Pen who is focussing the majority of her attention on domestic matters.
She said on Facebook: "Is there anything more serious when you want to be President of the Republic than to go abroad to accuse the country you want to lead a crime against humanity?
Get to know Marine Le Pen Sat, January 28, 2017
Marine Le Pen is a French politician who is the president of the National Front, a national-conservative political party in France and one of its main political forces.
Play slideshow AFP/Getty Images 1 of 10
A French politician who is the president of the National Front (FN), a national-conservative political party in France and one of its main political forces.
"By using this argument probably for basely electoral reasons, the crime was committed by Mr Macron.
"He committed it against his own country."
The Front National candidate is causing ructions in France ahead of the elections.
French Socialist Benoit Hamon and hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon held talks on Friday about the potential of joining forces to beat Le Pen.
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