France's President Emmanuel Macron on Monday visited the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, ahead of a trip to eastern Germany where he is expected to warn against the rise of the far right ahead of EU elections.

Macron, who is undertaking the first state visit by a French president to Germany in a quarter of a century, made a plea for the defence of democracy against nationalist forces as he arrived on Sunday.

He is expected to bring the same message to the eastern city of Dresden in Saxony state, a stronghold of the far-right AfD party.

Macron's trip comes two weeks ahead of European Union elections in which polls are indicating a major potential embarrassment for the French leader, with his centrist coalition trailing behind the far right.

It could even struggle to reach a third-place finish.

In Germany too, all three parties in Chancellor Olaf Scholz's coalition are polling behind the far-right AfD in surveys, despite a series of scandals embroiling the anti-immigration party.

On Monday morning, Macron and his wife Brigitte, along with the German presidential couple, paid a visit to the memorial in central Berlin that commemorates the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

Accompanying them was Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld and his German wife Beate, who underlined a resurgence of anti-Semitism, fuelled by Israel's offensive in Gaza following Hamas's attack on its territory.

"It's very good that the French president is meeting the German president before this monument, especially at a tragic time for the global Jewish community," said Klarsfeld.

But the Klarsfelds too have faced controversy lately over their comments in favour of far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whom they welcome for her engagement against anti-Semitism as opposed to her father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Macron had on Sunday labelled Le Pen's National Rally a "threat to Europe", stressing that he does not see them as "just another party".