Though Marie Le Pen of the far-right National Front came second with 21.5 percent of the vote and will contest the runoff on May 7, the favorite to be the country’s next president is the centrist Emmanuel Macron, who came top with around 24 percent.
Germany’s DAX gained 2.5 percent to 12,354.94, while Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.6 percent to 7,230.84.
Endorsements for Macron from the established French parties of the center-right and center-left will likely make it even tougher for Le Pen to get an absolute majority in the second vote.
After all, a few months ago, Francois Fillon, the candidate from the center-right Les Republicains, was favorite to succeed Hollande before a scandal involving his wife’s employment status derailed his campaign.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 24,164.24, while the Shanghai Composite fell 1.4 percent to 3,129.53.