French President Emmanuel Macron has urged the country to take part in a nationwide debate after tens of thousands of "yellow vests" protesters took to the streets across the nation for a ninth consecutive weekend.

Macron wrote a letter "to the French" to mark the opening of a three-month national debate, which will focus on such topics as taxes, public spending, and environmental reform.

"I wish that as many of you as possible could participate in this great debate to make a useful contribution to the future of our country… Your proposals will make it possible to build a new contract for the nation, organize the work of the government and the parliament", Macron said in the letter.

The wave of the so-called yellow vests protests — named after the obligatory attribute of French drivers — started in mid-November.

While the French government has scrapped its planned hike in diesel taxes, which is what initially sparked the protests, the "yellow vests" have evolved into a broader movement against government policies and rising living costs. The rallies have been marked by violent clashes between protesters and the police.