Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the violence in Paris was"under control" by 6pm local time, despite scattered tensions.
He described the clashes as "totally unacceptable", and said 135 people were injured on Saturday, including 17 police officers.
"Exceptional" security measures allowed police to put nearly 1,000 people in custody.
Casataner estimated there were 10,000 yellow vest protesters in Paris alone, among some 125,000 protesters around the country.
Protesters smashed store windows, set fires around Paris, and clashed with police, who fired tear gas throughout the day in the French capital.
Earlier in the day "Yellow vest" demonstrators squared up to thousands of cops on the Champs Eylsees boulevard.
Dozens of French riot police backed by an armoured vehicle charged the protesters, firing tear gas beneath the sparkling lights of one of the world's most elegant avenues.
Demonstrators in yellow vests carried a huge banner calling for President Emmanuel Macron to resign and for France to hold an emergency election.Protesters appeared to throw flares as police responded with tear gas.
The confrontation came after a day of tension across Paris on Saturday and unprecedented police efforts to prevent new violence.
Major tourist attractions have been shut down including the Eiffel Tower as 90,000 riot cops try and tackle today's ferocious battle for the streets.
Dramatic pictures show French cops hurling tear gas canisters and wielding water cannons as they try to calm groups angry at the high cost of living under President Emmanuel Macron, and a proposed fuel price rise.
Protesters chanted "Macron Resign" and "Police Everywhere – Justice Nowhere" as they were joined by extremists from the far Right and the ultra-Left.
The violence has spilled from France into Belgium and the Netherlands today, as around 700 people have been detained across Europe.
Reports say 100 have been pulled from protests in Brussels for carrying fireworks or protective clothing, while in Amsterdam two people were taken in by police.
In the French capital fires have been lit, cars turned over and shop windows smashed, while police arrested just over 600 people in Paris by 2pm.
Potential weapons including gas cannisters, flash ball guns, baseball bats, and petanque balls have been confiscated on the so-called "Act 4" day of action.
A police source said: "477 have been placed under formal investigation, out of a total of more than 600 arrests."
The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Musee d'Orsay and the Centre Pompidou have been forced to shut as the violence continues.
Cops said there are around 1,500 protesters on the Champs Elysees boulevard alone.
The Yellow Vests said their protests would continue indefinitely as they campaign for even more tax reductions.
There have been calls for a State of Emergency to be announced, and for the Army to take to the streets.
The current spate of Paris violence is considered the worst since the Spring of 1968, when President Charles de Gaulle’s government feared a full-blown revolution.
Police are using snatch squads to seize troublemakers and are more mobile around the city, BBC reports.
Authorities in the capital are taking these steps to avoid a repeat of last Saturday's chaos when rioters torched cars on the Champs Elysees boulevard and defaced the Arc de Triomphe monument with graffiti.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on French television: "We will do all we can so that today can be a day without violence, so that the dialogue that we started this week can continue in the best possible circumstances."
US President Donald Trump appeared to blame the Paris Agreement – which he took America out of in 2016 – for the rioting.
In a series of tweets he said the agreement "isn't working out so well for Paris", adding "people do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third word countries (that are questionable run) in order to maybe protect the environment".
Culture Minister Franck Riester told RTL radio: "We cannot take the risk when we know the threat", adding that far-right and far-left agitators were planning to hijack rallies by "yellow vest" protesters in the French capital.
Many shops were boarded up to avoid looting and street furniture and construction site materials have been removed to stop protesters from throwing them.
Interior minister Christophe Castaner had warned of "ultra-violent" people joining the riots, just days after tax offices across the country were stormed and petrol-bombed – with one confrontation leading to a protester ramming his tractor into a local government building.
He said the riots had "created a monster" and claimed "radical elements" had infiltrated the movement.
The first attack was in the southern town of Perpignan, when officials were forced to flee their posts after a rioter vowed to "come back with my gun".
And 200 tax inspectors in Poiters were escorted out of their building by a battalion of riot cops as protesters yelled "collaborators".
Yesterday a spokesman for President Macron said: "We have reason to fear a great violence this Saturday."
The Yellow Vest group is named after the high visibility jackets that all motorists have to carry in France and originally called for a reduction in the price of diesel and petrol.
The once-popular President Macron is now described as “The President of the Rich”, and widely disliked among the French public.
Last week horrifying images of French police beating up protesters have emerged – inflaming an already tense situation.
Mr Macron’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, said: “What is at stake is the safety of the French people and our institutions. I call for responsibility.
“All the actors in the public debate – politicians, union leaders, journalists and citizens – will be accountable for their statements in the coming days.”
The Sun Says
FRANCE’S riots are the direct result of President Macron’s ocean-going arrogance.
Hitting skint workers with higher fuel taxes and telling them it’s for their own long-term good is typical of him.
And after his aggression towards Britain . . . well, these woes couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke, could they?
But there is a warning there for us.
Exorbitant fuel prices are bad enough. Imagine telling 17.4million Leave voters their victory didn’t count.
The Sun warned yesterday that we fear civil disorder if a second referendum is called. Let’s be crystal clear: riots, or worse, are horrific, indefensible and the last thing anyone should want.
And we will not shrink from our view that second-vote campaigners are too glib about the forces they may unleash.
Today marks the fourth day of disturbances in a row, leading it to be dubbed “Act 4.”
Yesterday cops were forced to round up 153 baby-faced rioters at a single school – with officers forcing kids as young as 12 being to kneel in silence against a wall.
Shocking footage showed the officers arresting pupils at the lawless Saint-Exupéry school on the outskirts of Paris.
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