Born Jacques Anatole Thibault in 1844, France was the son of a Paris book dealer. He received a thorough classical education at the Collège Stanislas, a boys' school in Paris, and for a while he studied at the École des Chartes. For about twenty years he held diverse positions, but he always had enough time for his own writings, especially during his period as assistant librarian at the French Senate from 1876 to 1890.
Although he is chiefly known as a novelist and storyteller, there is hardly a literary genre that he did not touch upon at one time or another. France is a writer in the mainstream of French classicism. His style, modelled on Voltaire and Fénélon, as well as his urbane skepticism and enlightened hedonism, continue the tradition of the French eighteenth century. This outlook on life, which appears in all his works, is explicitly expressed in collection of aphorisms, Le Jardin d'Épicure (1895).
- The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard, Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard (1881)
- Epicur's Garden (1895)
- The Human Tragedy, L'Humaine Tragedie
- Les Sept Femmes de la Barbe-Bleue et Autres Contes Merveilleux
- Monsieur Bergeret a Paris (1901)
- The Life of Joan of Arc, 2 volumes (1908)
- Mother of Pearl
- The Revolt of the Angels, La Revolte des Anges (1914)