Top French theatre director Alain Francon was stabbed in the throat Wednesday outside his hotel in the Mediterranean city of Montpellier, officials said, in a daylight attack the details of which remain unclear.
Francon was operated on later in the day and appeared to be out of danger, local police said.
Francon, 76, has been teaching at the National School of Dramatic Arts since mid-February and living in the city's historic central district, a source close to the inquiry said.
He was seriously wounded in the attack and collapsed in the street before emergency responders arrived and took him to a nearby hospital.
Francon is one of the country's best-known directors, having founded the avant-garde Theatre Eclate ("Shattered Theatre") troupe in the Alpine town of Annecy in the 1970s.
He took the helm at the prestigious national theatre La Colline in Paris in 1996, overseeing adventurous productions until 2010.
More recently he received a Moliere prize in 2016 for his staging of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
He also appeared in last year's movie "DNA" by the popular actress and director Maiwenn, playing a cantankerous father whose daughter is determined to learn more about her immigrant roots.