He was convicted of trying to bribe a judge in 2014 – after he had left office – by suggesting he could secure a prestigious job for him in return for information about a separate case.
Sarkozy, 66, is the first former French president to get a custodial sentence.
His lawyer says he will appeal.
Sarkozy will remain free during that process which could take years.
In the ruling, Judge Christine Mée said the conservative politician “knew what [he] was doing was wrong”, adding…