Over a dinner of scallops and cod, 27 European leaders wrangled between a long-game strategy, favored by European Council President Donald Tusk, to give Britain up to a year to figure out how to leave the EU and Macron's desire to put pressure on British Prime Minister Theresa May by keeping any delay short.
The rebellion came on the eve of Wednesday's Brussels summit where Mrs May will ask for the postponement to 30 June, but could be forced by European Union leaders to accept a far longer delay.
The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door negotiations.
"Please, do not waste this time", European Council President Donald Tusk pleaded.
Mrs May came to the summit in Brussels seeking a delay to June 30.
Sterling rose against the dollar to pop above $1.31 after the possibility of a no-deal Brexit - which would've been the default outcome of Britain leaving the European Union on 12 April if an extension was rejected by the bloc - was quashed temporarily.
Several days of talks between May's Conservative government and the main opposition Labour Party aimed at finding a compromise have failed to produce a breakthrough. French President Emmanuel Macron was less receptive, saying an extension can not be guaranteed without Britain's assurance not to disrupt the EU.
Continuing, the left-wing mayor said, "And what Theresa May should have done is first work out what sort of relationship we want with the European Union, what will the future terms of that deal be, and once we knew that, once we were comfortable with that, then serve the notice to quit with a maximum of two years and we could have left before then".
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Tusk said that during the extension Britain "will continue its honest cooperation as a full member state, with all its rights, and as a close friend and trusted ally in the future".
In the working-class port town of Tilbury east of London, which strongly backed leaving the European Union in the 2016 referendum, Brexit supporters voiced their frustration at the new delay.
The Confederation of British Industry said the Brexit extension means an "imminent economic crisis" has been averted for now.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the Houses of Parliament, as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain, April 11, 2019.
Mrs May is facing a backlash within the party - and calls to resign - over the prospect of a further delay to Brexit which would force the United Kingdom to take part in European elections.
The talks, which both sides call serious and constructive, are expected to continue in the coming week.
Pro-EU politicians said the next few months should be used to hold a new referendum on whether to leave the EU or remain.