Published on Friday 11/02/2022 at 1606 EAT.
The test required a health protocol that was unacceptable and did not fit with the French leader’s schedule.
It follows reports that Mr Macron refused the PCR test over fears the Russians would get hold of his DNA.
The leaders subsequently held a socially-distanced meeting.
They did not shake hands and sat with a four-metre-long table between them, with observers wondering whether Mr Putin was using it to send a diplomatic message.
But French diplomatic sources told Reuters that Mr Macron had been told to choose between accepting a Russian PCR test to get closer to Putin or abide by strict social distancing rules.
“We knew very well that meant no handshake and that long table. But we could not accept that they get their hands on the president’s DNA,” one of the sources told Reuters.
The source did not elaborate on how the Russian intelligence services could exploit Mr Macron’s DNA.
“The conditions imposed for the meeting to take place with no social distancing required a health protocol which were according to us unacceptable and incompatible with the president’s schedule.”
The Kremlin confirmed that Mr Macron had been kept at a distance from the Russian leader because he had declined to take a Russian test.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia understood the French position and it had not affected the talks.
Mr Macron had carried out a PCR test before leaving France and his doctor carried out an antigen test once they were in Moscow, another French diplomatic source told Reuters.
“The Russians told us Putin needed to be kept in a strict health bubble,” the second source told Reuters.
Three days after the meeting with Mr Macron, Mr Putin hosted Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The pair shook hands and sat with a small coffee table between them.
During their meeting Mr Macron and Mr Putin spoke for five hours about the tensions over Ukraine.
Western countries say Russia could invade Ukraine but Russia denies planning to do so despite having massed 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border.
The US State Department has urged Americans in Ukraine to leave immediately.