Champs Elysee on lockdown after car crashes in police van in centre of Paris

Policemen secure the area on the Champs Elysees avenue after an incident in Paris (Reuters)

A driver who rammed a car carrying explosives into a police convoy on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris has died after the “attempted attack” on security forces, France’s interior minister said.

Gerard Collomb told reporters that the man’s motives were not immediately clear.

Bomb squad officers are at the scene on the city’s most famous avenue, which is popular with tourists.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident.

A hooded police officer secures the area on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris (PA Images)

No police officers or passers-by were hurt, the Paris police department said.

Two police officials said that a handgun was found on the driver, who they said was badly burned after the vehicle exploded.

The incident is the second this year on the city’s most famous avenue.

An attacker defending Islamic State shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees in April, days before a presidential election, prompting an extensive security operation.

France is under a state of emergency after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks.

On Monday, police cordoned off a broad swathe of the Champs-Elysees avenue that cuts through central Paris, warning people to avoid the area.

Eric Favereau, a journalist for Liberation newspaper who was driving a scooter behind the gendarmes, said he saw a car blocking the convoy’s path, then an implosion in the vehicle.

Mr Favereau wrote that the gendarmes smashed open the windows of the car while it was in flames and dragged out its occupant.

Other gendarmes used fire extinguishers to put out the flames.