Serge Mairesse, a 62-year-old retired Air France worker from Aubervilliers, just north of Paris, told The Wall Street Journal he wanted to reach the Elysee Palace to "register his anger" over the "government's antisocial policies". At least 500 people were arrested.
Shouts of "Macron, resign" mingled with the tear gas near the famous Champs-Elysees avenue, the scene of the worst rioting in Paris for decades last weekend.
Thirty-two people have been remanded in custody.
Paris monuments and shopping meccas are locked down and tens of thousands of police are taking position around the country, fearing worsening violence in a new round of anti-government protests. Dozens of streets were closed to traffic, while the Eiffel Tower and museums such as the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and the Centre Pompidou were shut. Protesters threw flares and other projectiles, and were repeatedly pushed back by tear gas.
There were no cheers for Trump, nor did anybody say they were against the Paris Agreement - or even mention it, for that matter - although the increase in gasoline tax that was to take effect on January 1 had been promoted by Macron as a way to lessen dependence on fossil fuels.
Protesters who came to Paris from Normandy described seeing officers block yellow-vested passengers from boarding public transportation at stops along their route. Some in Belgium appeared intent only on confronting police.More news: SpaceX Launches Dragon Cargo Ship to Space Station, But Misses Rocket Landing
Demonstrators waving French flags and wearing the movement's signature high-visibility vests gathered before dawn on Saturday near the Arc de Triomphe, then tried to march down the Champs-Elysees towards the presidential palace.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 481 people had been detained in Paris as police carried out checks on people arriving at train stations and at protest hotspots such as the Champs-Elysees and Bastille monument.
About 89,000 police were deployed across France on Saturday, some 8,000 of them in Paris.
Officials are also concerned about far-right, anarchist and anti-capitalist groups like Black Bloc that have mimicked the "yellow vest" movement.
"Now we await Mr Macron".
But protesters believe they are fighting for a fair cause. They said fellow protesters trying to reach Paris from Toulouse in southern France reported the same problems.
"We have prepared a robust response, ' Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Saturday".More news: The Pixel 3 Will Soon Be Available With eSIM On EE
Four people have died in accidents during the "yellow vest" protests and political leaders from across the spectrum have appealed for calm.
Four people have been killed in accidents since the protests began on November 7. Christmas markets, national soccer matches and countless other events have been canceled or hurt by the protests.
Protesters also blocked roads, roundabouts and tollbooths elsewhere in France.
The "yellow vests" reject the moves as insufficient and press ahead with plans for a fourth day of protests on Saturday, Dec 8.
Just a week ago, he was basking in the global limelight at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, challenging U.S. President Donald Trump on climate change and protectionist trade measures.
"People do not want to pay large sums of money ... in order to maybe protect the environment", he tweeted. But to say the demonstrations are against the Paris Agreement is a stretch, and to say the protesters were calling for Trump is a lie.More news: CONFIRMED Manchester United and Arsenal Lineup: Plenty of changes