The two men would appear to have little in common. He then repeats the compliment to Mr Macron, 39.
Observers also focused on the handshake between Macron and Trump.
Standing next to Trump, the French President said that while he remains "extremely attached to the framework of the Paris Accord", he "very much respect (s) the decision taken by President Trump".
Beset by the controversy over Donald Trump Jr's meeting with a Russian lawyer offering the Kremlin's help to defeat Mrs Clinton in the 2016 election, Mr Trump needs the ceremonial events to glow back home in the US.
The White House originally said Trump's comments would be off the record, but reversed itself on Thursday.
"Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord", Trump said, six weeks after announcing that the United States would abandon the 2015 pact.
The celebration of Bastille Day didn't begin for a century, with the first military parade marking the holiday on 1880. He also marked the 100th anniversary of America's entry into World War I by visiting US troops.
Accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, the 71-year-old stepped onto French soil for the first time as president on Thursday morning, hoping to leave behind weighty allegations that his family and inner circle colluded with Russian Federation to win the 2016 USA election. For the one thing, Trump clearly displayed that, unlike all other American presidents since the end of World War II, he has no interest in being the leader of the Western world.His behavior at the summit proved the point in a few ways. Shortly before Trump was to sit down with Macron, France's recently elected leader said it is "obvious and indispensable" to have exchanges with Trump, whose "America First" brand of politics has unnerved some stalwart European allies.
The reporter first questioned Macron, observing that, during a trip to Switzerland promoting the French bid for the 2024 or 2028 Olympic games, "you somehow criticized President Trump's policy without naming him". So I really have a feeling that you're going to have a very, very peaceful and attractive Paris.
Trump clearly appreciates his treatment by the leader of France because of the hostile nature of certain media outlets in America - and the endless saga of undermining his presidency by focusing on the role of Russian Federation in the electoral affairs of America.
Macron and Trump met as commanders-in-chief, heads of nations with military might and with what Macron called "convergence" on issues like counter-terrorism and tackling the threat from Islamic State.
Asked whether their dinner on Thursday night at the tony Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower would be a "dinner between friends", both said yes.
The menu could include sea bream, tiny artichokes and blue lobster - vastly different from Trump's standard fare of steaks and diet coke. Trump arrived in the French capital on Thursday for a whirlwind, 36-hour visit to meet with Macron and tackle potential solutions to the crisis in Syria and discuss broader counterterrorism strategies. Later in the day, she toured Notre Dame and the Seine river with the French First Lady.
The president's remarks echoed the defense his son gave of the meeting, which also was attended by former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Since each took office, they have traded rhetorical jabs and one awkward handshake.
Trump comes to France beset by allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 USA election, with emails released on Tuesday suggesting his eldest son welcomed an offer of Russian help against his father's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.