Reuters data showed the common currency jumped to a five-and-a-half month high of around $1.0935 against the greenback, from a Friday close near $1.072. The euro also climbed more than 1 percent against the British pound and more than 3 percent versus the Japanese yen.
"The market needed to get what it was expecting," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "I think that's the important thing."
"Some of the safety trade we've seen recently could be unwound in the next week," he said.
Far-right candidate Le Pen and centrist Macron were largely expected to pull ahead in the first round of the French contest. The two had led most of the polls leading up to the election. Le Pen and Macron will face off again on May 7. Most polls show Macron easily beating Le Pen in the second round.
"In one year, we have changed the face of French politics," Macron said at a rally. He added that he wants to relaunch the European project.
Macron of the independent En Marche party secured 24 percent of the vote, with National Front's Le Pen trailing narrowly behind at 22 percent, according to Harris poll estimates.
"They have very contrasting views," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "You'll get your first indication of who the market sees as the leader" heading into the runoff later on Sunday.
Also potentially important is that conservative candidate Francois Fillon endorsed the centrist Macron — rather than the fellow conservative Le Pen — as he conceded defeat Sunday evening local time.
Macron and Le Pen were neck and neck in the polls heading into the contest, with communist Jean-Luc Melenchon and conservative Fillon not far behind. According to French polling firm Ifop, the four candidates were separated by only 6 percentage points as of Friday.
The tight poll numbers led investors to dump the country's sovereign bonds in favor of more stable German debt, pushing the spread between French and German 10-year yields to a near two-month high.
French and German 10-year yield spread
"This could've gone a lot of different ways," said Thomas Hainlin, global investment strategist at Ascent Private Capital Management. "The fact that we got a result that was pretty close to what the polls were showing is reassuring to financial markets."
—CNBC's Gemma Acton and Jeff Cox contributed to this report.