The Socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has announced plans to run in next year's presidential election in France, joining a growing list of challengers to centrist incumbent Emmanuel Macron.

Speaking in the northwestern city of Rouen, Ms Hidalgo, who has been mayor of Paris since 2014, said: "I have decided to be a candidate for the presidency of the French Republic."

The 62-year-old daughter of Spanish immigrants, who fled Francisco Franco's dictatorship, is the hot favourite to win the nomination of the Socialist party.

But she will need to expand her profile nationally to become France's first female president.

She enters the race as a polarising figure, whose campaign to squeeze cars out of Paris and make the city greener divided residents of the capital.

Ms Hidalgo chose Rouen, which is also run by a Socialist, for her announcement to try to establish a foothold outside of Paris.

She credited her rise from humble beginnings in a housing estate - her father was an electrician and her mother a seamstress - as testament of the power of the French Republic to help children overcome "class prejudice".

Warning of growing inequality, she said: "the Republican model is disintegrating before our eyes" and added: "I want all children in France to have the same opportunities I had."

An increasingly crowded field of candidates are vying to challenge Mr Macron for the presidency, with prominent figures joining the race in recent weeks and other political heavyweights expected to declare.

Mr Macron, in power since 2017, has not officially declared his candidacy for a second term, but is widely expected to stand.

Here are some of the most prominent figures in the election race:

Marine Le Pen has already thrown her hat in the ring and will be setting her sights higher than her 2017 performance when she made it to the run-off second round but was then trounced by Mr Macron.

Mr Macron appears to have highlighted Ms Le Pen as his main rival, shifting his own policies to the right in a bid to outflank her.

Ms Le Pen's National Rally party has fared badly in recent local elections and some in the party have raised questions over her leadership.

TV pundit Eric Zemmour has won a major following for his diatribes against migration and the Muslim headscarf.

He has yet to confirm plans to stand but could decide to challenge to Ms Le Pen's far-right hegemony.

Mr Zemmour, boosted by an appeals court acquittal on 8 September over charges of inciting racial hatred, could choose a tour to promote a new book later this month to announce his intentions.

Former minister Xavier Bertrand was one of the very first to declare, back in March, boosted by strong results in regional elections.

It is unclear whether he would stand as the formal candidate of The Republicans or as an independent.

Bertrand had stated that he will not be standing on behalf of the main right-wing faction The Republicans (LR) and would not take part in a primary to choose a single contender.

But there have been signs of a reconciliation between him and the LR in recent days.

Michel Barnier, the EU's former Brexit negotiator, announced his candidacy in August, immediately striking out territory on the right by saying he wanted a France that was "respected" as well as a moratorium on immigration.

Mr Barnier won respect for his deft handling of the difficult Brexit talks, although it remains to be seen if he could transfer these skills to the rough-and-tumble of a campaign.

Edouard Philippe, a former prime minister, jettisoned by Mr Macron last year after reportedly becoming too popular for his own good, has been playing his cards close to his chest.

The Le Havre mayor met dozens of like-minded right-wing and centrist mayors early this year, increasing speculation he may stand. As yet, he has not declared.

Valerie Pecresse, head of the Ile-de-France region that includes Paris, announced her candidacy in July, saying she wanted to "restore French pride".

Some analysts believe she could emerge as a relatively serious contender, but Mr Pecresse faces stiff competition from the all-male cast of leading figures on the traditional right.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed party was fast into the starting blocks and declared his candidacy months ago.

But he will probably struggle to match his effort from the 2017 edition where he was a major factor in the campaign and polled almost 20% in the first round.

Arnaud Montebourg, a former minister under Mr Hollande, entered the fray in September, vowing a "remontada" (rebound) for France.

Seen as to the left of Hidalgo but more moderate than Melenchon, he ran in left-wing presidential primaries in 2011 and 2017 but failed to win a nomination.

Europe Ecology - The Greens party is set to hold a primary in September to choose its candidate, with the nomination set to go to either former Greenpeace campaigner Yannick Jadot, Grenoble Mayor Eric Piolle or former deputy party chief Sandrine Rousseau.

Whoever wins, their task will be to transfer the dazzling success the Greens enjoyed in 2020 local elections, where they picked up several big city halls, to the national level.