Millevoye was born in Abbeville as a very delicate child. He was first educated by his uncle and subsequently at the college in
Abbeville. At age 13, he was sent to l'École centrale, in Paris, where he first began to write
and publish poetry. He gave up law studies in order to work as a book shop assistant and
thereafter devoted himself to literature.
At age 18, he published his first poetry collection
and was awarded prizes for subsequent works by the Académie de Lyon and the Académie française.
His second collection of poetry confirmed his preference for the sentimental arising from his
sensitive nature. His work was well received by his public thereby enabling a
sumptuous style of living.
His first proposal of marriage was rejected by the father of his choice who was hostile to his
daughter's marrying a poet. Her subsequent death cast him into the depths of sadness; but he
married Marguerite-Flore Delattre in 1813 who bore him a son.
Napoleon had commanded poems from Millevoye in 1807 but, with few exceptions, his work thereafter
lacked greatness. He translated the Iliad and some works of Virgil, however.
Whilst in retirement at Vincennes for reasons of health, he fell from his horse and dislocated his
thigh. Shortly afterwards he became completely blind and died within a few days aged only 33.
His La Fauvette was set to music by Georges Bizet as Vieille Chanson.