image copyrightReutersimage captionMarine Le Pen's National Rally had hoped to win Provence

The far-right National Rally (RN) look to have lost a key battleground in France's regional elections.

RN had hoped to win its first ever region, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

But exit polls suggest their hotly-tipped candidate, Thierry Mariani, took only 43% of the vote and lost to the centre-right Republicans.

This round of elections has seen a potentially record low turnout of less than 30%, according to official figures released before polls closed.

Marine Le Pen's RN also lost another potential stronghold, the Hauts-de-France region around Calais in the north.

Other early results suggest wins for traditional centre-right parties, and for the left.