Men who were playing petanque in the area hurled a steel ball at the knifeman to try and stop him.
In total at least seven people were injured by the individual, four of whom have been hospitalized in serious condition, according to a judicial source.
The attacker, reported in French press to be a 31-year-old Afghan national male, started attacking passers-by outside a cinema around 11-pm local time on Sunday evening.
Eyewitness Youssef Najah, 28, told the BBC: "There were around 20 people chasing him".
Two are said to be British tourists.
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A security guard at one of two cinemas on either side of the water said he had seen the attacker running away from two men who were trying to stop him.
Police have so far said it was not a terrorist incident, and a man is reportedly in custody.
The UK foreign office said it was aware of reports of the attack and was "urgently investigating this incident" in cooperation with French authorities, British media reported. The officer had no information about the identities of the injured.
There is no initial sign the attack was linked to terrorism.
A French police source said: "At this stage, there is nothing to indicate that it could be a terrorist attack".