Police began hunting for the cub after noticing selfies on social media of the 24-year-old man posing with his tawny pet.
On Tuesday, they caught up with the man at his home east of Paris, but discovered he had left the lion at another address.
On arriving at an apartment in the northeastern Noisy-le-Sec suburb, the fire service found the abandoned cub "wasting away".
After being captured with a lasso, the startled lion was placed in the care of an animal rights group.
Photo: Pompiers de Paris/Facebook
The man was taken into custody on charges of illegally keeping a wild animal.
This is not the first time a big cat has been found abandoned in the French capital's northern suburbs.
In 2016, a tiger cub was abandoned northeast of Paris, where it was being rented out by drug dealers for a few euros a photo.