The 47-year-old was being held pending extradition to Switzerland, Le Figaro reported. He was arrested Monday at his home near Montpellier, police said.
He escaped with four other inmates from a prison in Lausanne, Swiss authorities say.
The Pink Panthers are believed to be responsible for robberies of high-end jewelry in European cities including London, Geneva and Monaco as well as Dubai and Tokyo. Police said they do not believe the man arrested this week is behind a recent rash of jewel thefts on the Riviera.
The gang is believed to have 220 members, most of them ex-soldiers from the former Yugoslavia. The man detained in France was convicted in absentia in Macedonia in 1998 for a crime committed there five years earlier.