He was speaking a day after the satirical weekly’s publication of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad sparked violent clashes, including deaths, in some Muslim countries.
Demand has surged for Charlie Hebdo’s first issue since two militant gunmen burst into its weekly editorial conference and shot dead 12 people at the start of three days of violence that shocked France.
A cartoon image of Mohammad on its front page outraged many in the Muslim world, triggering demonstrations that turned violent in Algeria, Niger and Pakistan on Friday.
“We’ve supported these countries in the fight against terrorism,” Hollande said during a visit to the southern city of Tulle, traditionally his political fiefdom.
“I still want to express my solidarity (towards them), but at the same time France has principles and values, in particular freedom of expression.”
The shootings in Paris were prompted by Charlie Hebdo’s previous publication of Mohammad cartoons, a depiction many Muslims consider blasphemous.
Hollande has received a big poll boost for his handling of the attacks with his popularity rating surging to its highest level in nearly one and a half years.
His rating has jumped to 34 percent from 24 percent before the attacks, according to a BVA poll published on Saturday.
Produced by survivors of the attack, the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo shows a cartoon of a tearful Mohammad holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign under the words “All is forgiven.”