At least one police officer guarding the metro was killed along with his attacker in a rare exchange of gunfire Thursday around the famed Champs-Elysees in central Paris.
A second officer was reportedly injured in what police said was an attack that deliberately targeted police.
Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station Thursday night at the center of the avenue popular with tourists.
The streets along the broad avenues leading to the Arc de Triomphe were lined with police vehicles with whirling blue emergency lights.
A witness tells Reuters that one man got out of a car at the scene and began shooting with a machine gun.
The Associated Press quoted police as saying the attack was possibly terror-related.
Police appealed to the public to remain out of the area as officers descended on the popular shopping area.
The attack comes three days before the first round of hotly contested presidential elections in France. A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings, the AP reports.
Security is high preceding the vote after police said they arrested two men Tuesday in what they described as a thwarted terror attack.
France has lived under a state of emergency declared following a terrorist attack in November 2015 that left 130 dead.