The corpse, discovered on Wednesday, was found in the area surrounding a stretch of salt water known as l'Étang de Lavalduc in Martigues, to the north west of Marseille, according to La Provence newspaper.
It was then, with a great deal of difficulty, removed from the scene on Thursday, according to reports.
At first, investigators believed the body, which had been mummified in salt, to be the corpse of an octogenarian woman who has been missing since the beginning of the year.
But it seems likely it is instead the body of a short man.
An autopsy was due to be held on Friday morning in order to determine the victim and the cause of death.