Less than 10 days after winning the second round of the French presidential elections, Francois Hollande has been sworn in as the new French president.

Hollande, the first socialist candidate to win the presidency in 17 years, asked for his inauguration at the Elysee Palace to be kept as low key as possible.

During the ceremony, he was presented with the official chain of office - a gold collar engraved with the names of all Fifth Republic presidents - and was then expected to be driven to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in an open-topped car.

His predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, was also due to hand over nuclear codes and a secret dossier to the new president.

Folliowing the ceremony, Hollande, 57, was expected at his first presidential lunch with former prime ministers Pierre Mauroy, Laurent Fabius, Michel Rocard, Edith Cresson and Lionel Jospin, who all belong to the Socialist Party.

His announcement of prime minister is highly anticipated and his longstanding ally Jean-Marc Ayrault, 62, is tipped for the job.

Hollande's election comes at a fraught time in history, with mounting tensions and uncertainty over the eurozone, accompanied by fears about Greece's future in the single currency.

The president was set to fly to Berlin in the afternoon to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on his first foreign visit as president.

He was expected to give his first presidential news conference in Berlin later in the evening.

Merkel, who publicly came out in support of Sarkozy prior to the presidential elections, and Hollande are set to discuss their different economic strategies. The German chancellor is expected to advocate austerity measures, while Hollande wants to put an emphasis on growth.

Hollande is scheduled to fly to the United States on 18 May to meet President Obama ahead of the G8 and Nato summits.

The meetings are expected to be a test, in which he explains his decision to pull French forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, a year ahead of schedule.