He said: "We will lose control if we do not move now".
Macron has faced growing criticism over his approach to the current Covid-19 surge. Avenida Paulista, an important business and tourist area of the city, was still quite busy with traffic and people on Friday 26 March however, when this footage was filmed.
The French president said schools would gradually reopen at the end on April for kindergartens and primary schools and from May 3 for middle and high schools.
"When COVID cases in a country are suddenly much more contagious, the lockdowns need to be adjusted and made much tougher", he said. University students will be allowed to go in for only one day a week.
"People will be allowed some domestic travel during this Easter holiday weekend".
"It is the best solution to slow down the virus while preserving education and the future of our children", Macron said in his televised address to the nation.
A government source said options included a strict lockdown in hard-hit parts of France, school closures, and a massive operation to transfer patients from overloaded hospitals to lesser-hit regions.
France added more than 30,000 new infections on Tuesday, taking the daily average to 38,902 - a figure which has jumped by more than 50 per cent in a fortnight.
Macron said that it was vital "to vaccinate as quickly as possible, and the most fragile", calling vaccination "the key to reconnect with life, the key to reopen our country". "It was a speech laced with care, with politics and also with a little grain of self-aggrandisement".
A less stringent lockdown was imposed again at the end of October previous year, with schools remaining open.
France is withdrawing into its third national lockdown as the death toll from the country's coronavirus pandemic nears 100,000.
In Paris and other regions where the virus is spreading rapidly, residents already have extra restrictions on movement and non-essential stores are closed.
The president defended his choice not to introduce stricter measures earlier, saying he believes the government "acted rightly" to trust the public.
Over the last few warm, spring days, the banks of the Seine River in Paris have looked a lot like Venice Beach, Calif., with young people working-out and sunbathing, their masks under their chins.
'With regards to schools, we've all got to be aware of our responsibilities as far as our youth are concerned, ' said Mr Macron. "All of this is true", he said. "I solemnly ask you to reinforce without delay the sanitary measures... we must lockdown".
"It's reckless and unacceptable for only 1% of worldwide arrivals to quarantine in a hotel", said Nick Thomas-Symonds.
As one government source told FranceInfo: "If strong measures are taken, such as on schools, then it is up to the head of state to relay them".
- Alberta pausing use of AstraZeneca vaccine in those under 55
- Suspected bomb blast at Indonesia church causes casualties
- Hundreds gather for 'Stop Asian hate' rally in Calgary
- Kemp, Raffensperger respond to criticism of new voting law
- Troops fire at funeral as Myanmar mourns bloodiest day since coup
- Biden keeps returning to Trump as a cause of nation’s troubles
- Just how important is the Suez Canal to global trade?
- Covid-19 'very likely' first jumped into humans from animals
- Russian Federation offers to help Egypt in freeing Suez Canal ship
- Ontario ICU capacity reaching critical level because of COVID-19: OHA