The Paris police chief says a man armed with at least one machete and shouting "Allahu Akbar," meaning "God is great," launched himself at soldiers and police officers near the Louvre Museum on Friday. One of the soldiers shot the attacker five times, gravely wounding him.
The man reportedley attacked soldiers when they told him he couldn't enter an underground shopping mall beneath the sprawling Louvre Museum with his bags.
Yves Lefebvre, a police union official, says the man tried to stab one of the soldiers and was found two be carrying 2 machetes.
Police chief Michel Cadot says the attacker was also carrying two backpacks but they were later found not to contain any explosives.
"We are dealing with an attack from an individual who was clearly aggressive and represented a direct threat, and whose comments lead us to believe that he wished to carry out a terrorist incident," Cadot told reporters.
"There was also a second individual who was behaving suspiciously, who has also been detained, but for now there does not appear to be a link between that individual and the attack," added Cadot.
Cadot said the soldier who had been attacked had suffered some light wounds to the scalp.
According to one source, the man had been trying to get into the museum's shopping mall and had attacked another soldier before being shot and seriously wounded.
Police said the area had been evacuated and the interior ministry said on Twitter the incident was "serious."
Louvre officials said the museum was closed and that visitors already inside when the attack took place were being kept there.
A witness at the scene said police had cordoned off access to the museum.
The identity and nationality of the individual suspected of attacking a soldier at Paris' Louvre site remains unknown for now, French interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters.
France has been hit by a series of militant Islamist attacks over the past two years that have killed more than 230 people and which have been claimed by the militant Islamist group Islamic State.
The most recent deadly attack took place in the southern city of Nice when a man drove a truck into a crowd on the seafront killing 86.
Two potential attacks were thwarted in September including one by a group of women who parked a car containing gas canisters near Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral.
The country is less than three months away from a presidential election in which security and fears of terrorism are among the key issues.