The country is currently on a knife edge as the electorate prepares to come out in force in this weekend’s elections.
Analysts say that a potential to put France’s euro membership to a popular vote – a Frexit – is proving to be a main driver for voters.
Front National candidate Marine Le Pen and left-wing Unsubmissive France candidate Jean Luc Melenchon are going head to head as the only two candidates to favour giving voters a say on the EU.
Front National Le Pen is facing off with Jean Luc Melenchon
Mr Macron took a break to go skiing alongside his wife Bridget
Marine Le Pen and Melenchon want to put France’s euro membership to a popular vote, and both are opponents of the EU project, at least in its current form
Republican Francois Fillon and En Marche! candidate and former civil servant Emmanuel Macron are against a complete reworking of France’s relationship with the bloc.
Now analysts are warning that if, against all polls data, either one of the two “fringe candidates” somehow triumph then it’s not the end of the world for the country.
Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: “Marine Le Pen and Melenchon want to put France’s euro membership to a popular vote, and both are opponents of the EU project, at least in its current form.
“A possible French exit from the single currency, and potentially even the EU, will likely destabilise markets, at least in the short term.
“The lesson of Brexit and of Trump is that we should not get too apocalyptic in our predictions.
“Even if one of these two ‘fringe’ candidates were to win, it would be difficult for them to put their manifestos into practice as complex constitutional changes cannot be enacted by presidential fiat.
Posters of Mr Macron and Mrs Le Pen have been vandalised
“They require the approval of both chambers of the French parliament, in which neither the FN or Melenchon’s party La France Insoumise (FI) have majorities.”
But Joel Gombin, a director of l’Observatoire des Radicalités Politiques, says while leftist voters may mobilise to beat Mrs Le Pen in a second round, a “political realignment” could also be on the cards in the overarching French political establishment.
The National Assembly elections, which take place in June, could likely see Front National make huge gains.
Mr Gombin said: “There are moments in history when voter behaviour shifts dramatically and the balance of political forces is transformed.
“This happened in 1981 and 1984, when the FN first emerged as a significant electoral player.
“In the event of a realignment that places globalisation and France’s relations with the rest of the world at the centre of political debate, it is conceivable that half of the electorate could find itself drawn towards the FN.
“The centre-right Republicans, having lost their raison d’etre (winning elections) as a party they would likely lose a significant portion of their elected official, activists and voters to the FN, and another chunk to Mr Macron and his coalition.
“In such a configuration, the FN – or whatever the FN becomes – would have election-winning potential.
“But then we would be living in a different political world.”
Analysts have also warned of abstention by those who support no candidates could also be a major factor in the outcome of the presidential race.
Francois Fillon is pro-EU which could lose him votes
The National Assembly elections which will vote in 577 members for five-year terms in single seat-constituencies will take place on 11 and 18 June 2017.
And Mr Beauchamp also says a gold bet is on the cards for anyone risk averse.
He added: “A victory by either Melenchon or Le Pen would likely cause tremors across financial markets.
Mr Melenchon appeared as a hologram to his supporters
“The euro, for example, would likely face a downward move against the US dollar, as investors buy up the US currency, and Treasuries, as a safe haven move against volatility.
“Stock markets in the eurozone, which often receive a boost from a falling currency, may instead suffer again as money flows move to the UK or US.
“Gold would be another one to watch here – the classic flight-to-safety trade would likely be reignited by a shock victory of Le Pen or Melenchon.
“Normally in a world of rising economic growth, gold would be out of favour but a win for an outsider could be just the thing to get gold moving sharply higher once more.”