Francois Hollande Charlie Hebdo
Approval of French president Francois Hollande rose to 40% NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images

The Paris Islamist attacks left France with a renewed confidence in its leadership, as President Francois Hollande's record low popularity reported a massive recovery in recent weeks.

Hollande gained the unflattering title of least popular president in modern French history last year, with polls putting his approval rating at a dismal 12% in November.

But the socialist leader has made a remarkable comeback in the wake of the three days of terror that shocked the nation.

A survey by Ifop-Fiducial for Paris Match magazine showed 40% of the public approves of his actions as president.

The poll was conducted over two days at the end of last week, with 1,003 people surveyed by telephone.

The result represented an unprecedented 21 percentage point jump from the last Ifop-Fiducial poll, which put Hollande's rating at 19% in December.

Paris Match described it as a "spectacular leap", adding a similar boost was previously recorded only by president François Mitterrand during the Gulf War in 1991.

France's ambitious prime minister, Manuel Valls, also experienced a major boost in popularity, after the deadly shootings in the capital.

Valls, who is seen as Hollande's main challenger for the future leadership of the Socialist Party, saw his approval rising 17 points to 61%, according to the same poll.

More than 40% of respondents also said they believe Valls is the right person to lead the country out of the current crisis.

"The French people have awarded Manuel Valls a sort of statesman certificate," Ifop general director Frédéric Dabi said, commenting on the figures.

Seventeen people were killed in three separate shooting incidents in Paris over three days earlier this month.

Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi shot dead 12 at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, while another gunman, Amedy Coulibaly killed a policewoman before storming a kosher supermarket, killing four Jewish shoppers.

All three attackers were shot dead by police at the end of two tense hostage stand-offs, bringing the total death toll to 20.