Kery Clegg was seriously ill in a Bordeaux hospital after lying on waste ground for two days with deep knife wounds to her throat.
She had travelled to the west coast to spend the summer fruit picking in the area. French detectives believe she was attacked by a motorist.
Ms Clegg, from Blackburn, Lancashire, was found unconscious and partly undressed on 19 July near a gravel pit 13 miles north of Bordeaux.
A police spokesman said: 'She had three deep knife wounds to her throat and she had been hit around the mouth and face. She was half-unconscious and very distressed. From the state of her injuries she had been lying there for two days. This is a very shocking attack on a defenceless young woman.'
The spokesman said there was no evidence of a sexual assault but police could not rule that out as a motive. The clothes stripped from her were nearby but her handbag was missing.
Ms Clegg, a former care assistant, was being treated at the Pellegrin hospital in Bordeaux. The police spokesman said: 'Her condition is not life- threatening, but she is still only half- conscious. She has yet to be able to give us details about the attack.'
Police took two days to identify Ms Clegg and then withheld news of the attack, hoping she would recover consciousness and give her account.
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