Both leaders said they could work together to seek a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
The two men hold opposing views over whether military action should be taken against the Syrian government.
Obama said the world must act to uphold an international ban on chemical weapons use, while Putin repeated the Syrian government's accusation that "militants" used chemical weapons in a bid to get aid and support from "those countries who support them."
He told reporters that Moscow will continue to provide Syria with arms and humanitarian aid. Russia, along with China, has so far opposed military intervention in Syria at the U.N. Security Council.
Obama's domestic battle
Obama will now seek to rally congressional support for possible U.S. military action against Syria, with a vote expected after lawmakers reconvene from recess on Monday.
The president will give interviews with CNN, PBS, Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS on Monday as he presses his case, a White House official said; the CNN interview will air at 6 p.m. The next day, he'll address the American people on this crisis.
Obama said Friday that he had expected skepticism from the public and from lawmakers, and that he had anticipated it would be "a heavy lift" to win approval for military action from Congress.
In Paris, Kerry spoke of Americans' "Iraq hangover" and said, "We all got burned by that, and we're still paying the price."
The United States, however, can't allow their tentativeness about Iraq strip away the nation's responsibility "to confront real threats today," he said.
Even as Kerry has led calls within the administration for tougher action against Syria, he has sought to work with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on bringing the warring parties in Syria together for negotiations on a political transition.
A senior State Department official said Kerry would be discussing those efforts during his meetings this weekend, although no date has been set yet and the parties have "some distance to go" before the talks could be held.
The United States hopes military action, however limited, could change Al-Assad's calculus and encourage him to negotiate.
Middle East peace process
Although Syria is sure to top the agenda during Kerry's meetings with foreign diplomats, he will also discuss his efforts to nurture the fledgling Middle East peace process.
After five months of shuttle diplomacy between Israelis and Palestinians, Kerry in July announced a resumption of direct talks between the two sides and tapped former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk as his Mideast peace envoy.
The parties have committed to try and reach a peace deal within nine months, although privately both sides have voiced skepticism that that is possible.
Kerry will meet in London on Sunday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Another senior State Department official traveling with Kerry said that although the crises in both Syria and Egypt have distracted both the Israelis and Palestinians, they have also yielded important benefits.
Kerry was also expected to lobby EU foreign ministers to reconsider sanctions imposed this summer against Israel, which banned funding of some projects in the occupied West Bank over European opposition to continued settlement building.