Candidates are entering the final week of campaigning ahead of the first round of voting on Sunday
Four of the 11 hopefuls are considered serious contenders for the May 7 run-off, which will decide who replaces François Hollande, polls suggest.
Benoit Hamon, the candidate for Mr Hollande’s Socialist Party, appears to have little chance of retaining office amid a surge of support for the far-right, hard left and new centrist movement headed by his former colleague Emmanuel Macron.
While Mr Hamon is posting single digit scores in polls, the four heavyweight candidates are between 18% and 25% in predictions for the first round, making the race too close to call.
The controversial Miss Le Pen has been tipped to reach the second round in virtually all the polls but the same data indicates she would lose to whoever she faced in the decider.
Meanwhile, Les Républicains candidate Mr Fillon remains among the frontrunners despite the “fake jobs” scandal surrounding his Welsh wife Penelope.
Francois Fillon's campaign has been damaged by the 'fake jobs' scandal
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A topless protester burst into a hall where French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was delivering a foreign policy speech chanting 'Marine, pretend feminist'
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Marine Le Pen gestures after a press conference focused on the theme 'France's international policy in a multipolar world'
Mr Fillon had been favourite for the Elysée after stunning former president Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppe, the bookies' favourite for most of last year, to win his party's nomination last November.
But Mr Fillon's campaign was rocked by newspaper revelations his wife had been paid for parliamentary work despite not apparently playing any part in his political life.
A judicial investigation followed, Mr Fillon was charged but refused to step down.
A string of terror attack in France has seen a swell of support for Marine Le Pen's Font National
He continues to draw big crowds and there have been signs some voters are returning to the fold, despite the “Penelopegate” scandal.
Meanwhile, Mr Macron has surged in the polls with his new En Marche! movement which he says is neither left wing or right wing.
The 39-year-old, a protégé of Mr Hollande and his finance minister until last autumn, has been branded as the establishment candidate and the darling of "big money" by rivals.
Mr Hollande decided not to seek a second term after five years marked by terror attacks which killed hundreds in Paris and Nice, forcing him to declare a state of emergency.
The terror attacks saw a swell of support for Ms Le Pen's strong security and anti-immigrant message.
Mr Melenchon, whose leftist movement is called La France Insoumise (Unsubdued France), has soared in the past two weeks to within striking distance, eclipsing Mr Hamon.
Support for leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon has surged in recent weeks
Emmanuel Macron claims his party is neither left-wing or right-wing
There are six other candidates. Nathalie Arthaud and Philippe Poitou advocate leftist policies while Jean Lassalle campaigns for rural communities.
All three advocate measures to restrict the free market.
Jacques Chaminade, François Asselineau and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan all stand on the right, favouring withdrawal from or deep reform of the EU and Nato.