The French interior ministry said that two hostage takers were “neutralised” in the attack.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was on his way to the scene of the crime, which comes with France on edge after the Bastille Day massacre which left 84 people dead in Nice.
According to media areports, two men took several people hostage, including a priest and two nuns, in the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy region of the country. A police source had said between four and six people were being held by the assailants.
Unconfirmed reports said the hostage takers were later shot dead by police.
Live TV images showed police had blocked off the roads around the church and paramedics were seen pulling stretchers out of ambulances.
Officers from the elite anti-terrorist raid squad were called in to assist local police.