He was born in Aubais, Gard in 1885.
Having graduated from the University of Montpellier with a degree in history he began his distinguished career in the French Ministry of Fine Arts soon afterward. He served in the French army during World War I. In 1925 Grousset was appointed adjunct conservator of the Musee Guimet in Paris and secretary of the Journal asiatique. By 1930 he had published five major works on Asiatic and Oriental civilizations. In 1933 he was appointed director of the Cernuschi Museum in Paris and curator of its Asiatic art collections. He wrote a major work on the Chinese buddhist medieval pilgrim Huien Tsang, particularly emphasising the importance of his visit to the northern Indian buddhist university of Nalanda.
Before the outbreak of World War II, Grousset had published his two most important works, Histoire des Croisades (1934-1936) and L'Empire des Steppes (1939). Dismissed from his museum posts by the Vichy government, he continued his research privately and published three volumes on China and the Mongols during the war. Following the liberation of France, he resumed his curatorship of the Cernuschi Museum and in addition was appointed curator of the Musee Guimet. In 1946, Grousset was made a member of the French Academy. Between 1946 and 1949 he published four final works, concentrating on Asia Minor and the Near East.
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