The “Together for the Climate” marches were held in Paris and other major French cities to demonstrate an environmental bill that they say does not go far enough to limit rising temperatures.
Organizers said as many as 115,000 people took part in more than 160 events across the country; police said the figure was closer to 47,000.
Several NGOs and unions participated, as well as student activist groups.
In Paris, the demonstrators gathered behind a banner “climate law = failure of the five-year term” on the Place de la République.
A protester, Patricia Samoun, said she was “clearly disappointed” with Macron’s presidency.
What were Macron’s climate plans?
The government’s climate bill has already been approved by lawmakers in the National Assembly.
The plans will ban domestic flights of less than two and a half hours which can be done by train.
There are also measures to support the renovation of buildings with high energy consumption and to encourage greener cars.
President Macron promised a referendum during his 2017 election campaign on green reform, but the French weekly Sunday Newspaper reported on Sunday that this pledge has now been dropped.
Under the French constitution, approval of such a plebiscite would require the support of both chambers of parliament.
But the upper house Senate, where the conservative Republicans hold a majority, was unable to come to an agreement to support the idea of bringing environmental reform to the public.
Speaking in Strasbourg, Macron played down suggestions that the plan had been scrapped, saying it “will not be scrapped”.
The original bill itself was the result of a citizens’ climate assembly.
What else is France doing in terms of the climate?
France has a € 100 billion ($ 122 billion) coronavirus rescue plan that includes funds to help reduce emissions and protect biodiversity.
Macron was also behind an initiative to strengthen the EU’s 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 55% from 1990 levels.
This is much higher than the previous target of 40%.
Last month, the EU reached an agreement to become “climate neutral” by 2050.
jf / aw (AP, Reuters, AFP)