Activists wearing red T-shirts sounded drums and shouted slogans, in what organizers called the Red March to denounce the slaughter of animals for human consumption.
Placards carrying images of farm animals and poultry highlighted the suffering the domesticated game have to endure. "Behind each piece of meat is a sensitive being," read one.
The march was organized by the L214 group, which defines its mission as organizing campaigns highlighting the living conditions of farm animals, as well as how they are transported to slaughterhouses and killed.
"Today, everyone agrees about the issue of animals' well-being," said Hugo Bouxoum from L214 to local news outlets. "This is the moment for legislation, for bills abolishing the worst practices like raising poultry in a cage or the extremely long time they endure during transportation in trucks or boats."
The protest comes weeks after the head of the southern French Ales slaughterhouse was tried and convicted for mistreatment of animals at their facility. The director was fined a sum of 1,200 euros.
The accusations arose from videos of inhumane treatment acquired and published by L214.
Some marchers carried the banners of France's Animalist Party, which did unexpectedly well along with the Green Party at the recent European polls, and other animal rights groups.
Police arrested a small group of activists after they threw fake blood over the statue of Marianne — a symbol of the French Republic — in the city center's Place De la Republique.