Eighteen people were arrested on Monday in protests during the transport of the Olympic torch through Paris, the city's interior ministry said.
Most were arrested for "resisting authority," the officials said.
Thousands of anti-China protestors disrupted the passage of the torch through the French capital in protest against China's crackdown in Tibet and other issues.
The ministry said the police walked a fine line between providing security and respecting the freedom of expression. They also had to protect the security of the demonstrators, the officials said.
"The Olympic flag was the responsibility of the Chinese officials," the ministry said. The French police only provided "technical support".
For security reasons, Chinese officials decided to transport the torch inside a bus for part of the journey through France, instead of letting an athlete carry the flame as is tradition.