French police shot dead a knife-wielding man Thursday as he attacked a police station in Paris, a year to the day since jihadist gunmen killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo newspaper.

The man reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) and was wearing what appeared to be an explosives vest although it was later found to be a fake, police and government sources said.

News of the attack came just after President Francois Hollande concluded a sombre speech at police headquarters to mark the anniversary of the killings at Charlie Hebdo's offices on January 7, 2015.

Paris police officials outside the police station | Source :AFP

"On Thursday morning, a man attempted to attack a policeman at the reception of the police station before being hit by shots from the police," interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.

Explosives experts were deployed to the scene in the multi-ethnic Goutte d'Or district, close to the Gare du Nord international station.

The man was found to have been wearing a pouch under his coat with a wire hanging from it, but the device "contained no explosives", a source close to the investigation told AFP.

Featured image: AFP