France's presidential election campaign went into overdrive this weekend, with two key candidates, the centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-Right Marine Le Pen, each laying out their radically different plans to overthrow the established order.
The politicians held competing events in Lyon on Saturday as pressure mounted on Francois Fillon, who for months had been tipped to win the vote this spring, to pull out of the race because of the growing financial scandal centering on his British wife, Penelope.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, the far-Left firebrand who is neck and neck with the ruling Socialist party candidate Benoit Hamon, was due to add a touch of hi-tech magic to the election race by holding a rally in person in Lyon on Sunday and appearing simultaneously as a hologram at another meeting in Paris.
Mr Macron, 39, a clean-cut former investment banker who has never held elected office, kicked off the weekend with a rally at a sports centre in the south of Lyon attended by a largely youthful and often ecstatic crowd come to hear the man who promises to smash the "complacency and vacuity” of the French political system.
"We can no longer defend a political system whose practices weaken democracy," he told the 15,000-strong crowd, which swung between hushed reverence and wild cheers of "Macron, President."
"I am not saying that left and right no longer mean anything, no longer exist, or are the same thing," said Mr Macron, dressed in a light-blue suit, before launching into a lengthy explanation of how citizens of all political hues could put aside their differences and come together in historic moments for the good of France.
It was exactly that message that attracted Eleonore Hirooka to Mr Macron's movement, En Marche (On The Move).
The 33-year-old IT consultant from the Savoie region in the Alps, who attended the rally with her husband and two small children, said she was a member of one of the 3,500 local committees En Marche had set up across the country.
"We meet once a month and discuss topics like the economy, culture, or the environment which the movement headquarters sends down," she said.
"Then we sent the results of our talks back up to the top and this feeds in to how policy is formed.
"I love the fact that ideas or policy can come from below, and it is not people in Paris dictating it," said Ms Hirooka, wearing a pink T-shirt with "Emmanuel Macron President" emblazoned on it.
She, as many of the people the Telegraph spoke to at the rally, said this was the first time she had got involved with a political party of attended campaign rallies.
Mr Macron, who was economy minister until he resigned last summer to launch his presidential bid, has been accused of being vague about his plans - and how to finance them - to resolve the mass unemployment, inequality, terror threats and fears of globalisation that plague France.
He gave some details at the Lyon rally - promising to boost the defence budget, hire 10,000 police officers, boost funding for schools, and loosen even further France's rigid labour laws - but said he would wait till the end of the month to reveal how he plans to fund his reforms.
He took a swipe at the new US administration, saying that refugees from the "obscurantism" of Donald Trump's America could find refuge in France, and made a thinly veiled joke about his rival Mr Fillon's alleged misuse of taxpayer money to pay his wife for a "non-existent" job as his parliamentary assistant.
Mr Fillon, who was prime minister under president Nicolas Sarkozy for five years, was this weekend facing mounting pressure from his own conservative camp to withdraw from the presidential race which has become the most unpredictable campaign France has known in decades.
Polls have showed that a large majority of French do not believe his repeated denials that he has done any wrong and a senior member of his own Les Republicains party on Saturday warned that the party might split if he did not withdraw.
"There are presidential and legislative elections at stake and, beyond that, the survival of our political party," Senator Bruno Gilles, head of the party's influential Bouches-du-Rhone region, said in a radio interview.
Marine Le Pen, 48, who is tipped to come first in the first round of the election but be defeated by Mr Macron in the second, meanwhile on Saturday began two days of "round table" talks with the party faithful in Lyon to set out her programme in detail.
She is hoping to profit from political turmoil to score a Donald Trump-style upset and promises to shield voters from globalisation and make France "free."
In 144 "commitments" published at the start of the event, Ms Le Pen proposes leaving the euro zone, holding a referendum on EU membership, slapping taxes on imports and on the job contracts of foreigners, lowering the retirement age and increasing several welfare benefits while lowering income tax.
"The aim of this programme is first of all to give France its freedom back and give the people a voice," wrote the candidate, who in 2011 took over the party leadership from its founder and her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, in the introduction to the manifesto.
She is due to hold a major rally on Sunday to bring the two-day event to a close.