The demonstrations spiralled into a broader movement against President Emmanuel Macron and his economic reforms.
The protest in the distance was wreathed in clouds of smoke, from fires lit by protesters, and/or tear gas, fired by police.
The protests started on November 17, 2018 in reaction to rising fuel costs and economic injustice, but later spiraled into deadly anti-government riots.
France has a long tradition of violent protest, but the ferocity of last winter's demonstrations and allegations of police brutality shocked the country.
Paris police chief Didier Lallement denounced "individuals who got here to not defend a trigger however to destruct issues" and deplored "assaults in opposition to safety forces but in addition in opposition to firefighters".
Masked casseurs (hooligans) ran riot in Place d'Italie on Saturday, wrecking public monuments including a war memorial, smashing shop and business windows and torching vehicles.
"We are a bit disappointed that this has descended into violence", said one protester, who travelled from eastern France to Paris to mark the first anniversary.
The yellow vests need the actions on Saturday - their regular day of protest - and in addition Sunday, the anniversary day, to remind Macron they haven't vanished from the scene.
The yellow vest movement, named for the breakdown vests found in french automobiles which the demonstrators wore, began in November 2018 in opposition to a fuel tax, with many protests involving blocking roads and highways.
Probably the most outstanding figures within the motion, which has explicitly shunned any formal management construction, acknowledge the declining numbers however say the authorities' response has not been adequate.
Macron challenged The yellow vest movement was one of the toughest challenges to Macron's presidency before it dwindled in the early summer.
Lallement famous that nearly all protesters marched in a "fairly serene" environment in one other demonstration from northwestern Paris to Bastille plaza, within the east of the capital.
He has also tried to soften his sometimes abrasive style.
Media captionFrance fuel protests: Who are the people in the yellow vests?
Some other cities also experienced violence; in Nantes (Pays de la Loire), an estimated 1,000 protesters clashed with law enforcement; while in Montpellier, the official residence of MP Patrick Vignal was vandalised with windows smashed and graffiti daubed on the walls.
Rallies were called at about 200 locations across France on Saturday.