The owner of the Peugeot 607, who was arrested on Tuesday, is on a watchlist of people suspected of religious radicalism, the official said.
Another person is reported to have been detained by police.
The police official said it was believed the owner of the car may have been trying to carry out a “test run” for a terror attack.
French police said the car had no registration plates and it was found with its hazard lights flashing.
The vehicle contained six gas cylinders, one of which was empty and placed on the front passenger seat.
There was no detonating device present, an official added.
La Parisien reports that a book written in Arabic was found at the scene.
The security alert comes after a warning from the head of the French domestic intelligence service, Calvar Patrick, that Islamic State could use booby-trapped vehicles to attack France.
In July, Mr Patrick said: “I am sure that they will move to the level of vehicle bombs and explosive devices and they will thus increase their power.
“They are going to send in squads whose mission will be to organise terrorist campaigns without necessarily mounting assaults that will end with their deaths.”
France has been under a state emergency since the November 2015 attacks on Paris that killed 130 people and injured hundreds.
The state of emergency was extended for six months after the Bastille Day attack in July, in which 86 people were killed when a truck ploughed into a crowd in Nice.
Less than a fortnight later two young jihadists murdered a priest near the northern city of Rouen.
News Source SkyNews