The first official results and exit polls will appear in the French media only after the last polling stations are closed, which will happen in about two-three hours.
On Sunday, over 66,000 polling stations opened in France at 8 a.m. local time (6:00 GMT). About 47 million voters are expected to cast ballots, choosing among 11 presidential candidates. The first results are expected at around 8 p.m. local time later in the day, when the polls close.
In order to cast a ballot in France a citizen must be over 18 years old, not legally banned from voting and registered on the electoral list.
The same rules are applied to presidential candidates. They must also show a sense of 'moral dignity', which is a loose term without a clear legal definition. A presidential hopeful must also collect 500 signatures of support from elected representatives.
Anyone who is able to fulfill this criteria becomes eligible to run for the first round. If nobody wins the first round with the absolute majority, the two highest scoring candidates face each other in a runoff.