Versailles: A woman has been fined by the French police for wearing a full-face Islamic veil on Tuesday, the first reported enforcement of a ban on the garment on the day it came into effect, a police source said.

The young woman was fined 150 euros "without incident" in a shopping centre in Mureaux, northwest of Paris early Monday evening, the source said, without elaborating on exactly what she was wearing.

France became the first country in Europe to apply a ban on the wearing of full-face coverings on Monday, including the Islamic niqab. At least two niqab-wearing women were arrested the same day for protesting the ban.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant insisted that the ban would be fully applied, in the name of "secularism and equality between men and women... two principles upon which we cannot compromise."

"The police and the gendarmerie are there to apply the law and they will apply the law," he said.

The law came into effect at an already fraught moment in relations between the state and France's Muslim minority, with Sarkozy accused of stigmatising Islam to win back votes from a resurgent far right.

Many Muslims and rights activists say the right-wing President is targeting one of France's most vulnerable groups to signal to anti-immigration voters that he shares their fear that Islam is a threat to French culture.