The vote will now head to a run-off.
Around 70 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots, a big turnout compared with around 50 percent six years ago when Social Democrat Heinz Fischer, now 77, was elected for his second term. He could not run for a third term.
03:32 Asia stocks rise, euro steady as relief from French vote buoys sentiment22
15:08 Euro surges, yen dives as French election fears abate19
12:22 French election result gives markets a start-of-week lift25
14:28 Caitlyn Jenner Voted For Donald Trump, But Her Loyalties Don't Lie With Him17