He studied at Paris under Girard la Pucelle, who began to teach in or about 1160, but as he states in his book De nugis curialium that he was at the court of Henry II.
The Henriade was at last licensed in France; Brutus, a play which he had printed in England, was accepted for performance, but kept back for a time by the author; and he began the celebrated poem of the Pucelle, the amusement and the torment of great part of his life.
The best-known accounts of Cirey life, those of Madame de Grafigny, date from the winter of 1738-39; they are somewhat spiteful but very amusing, depicting the frequent quarrels between Madame du Chatelet and Voltaire, his intense suffering under criticism, his constant dread of the surreptitious publication of the Pucelle (which nevertheless he could not keep his hands from writing or his tongue from reciting to his visitors), and so forth.
His Orphelin de la Chine, performed at Paris in 1755, was very well received; the notorious La Pucelle appeared in the same year.
As regards his poems proper, of which there are two long ones, the Henriade and the Pucelle, besides smaller pieces, of which a bare catalogue fills fourteen royal octavo columns, their value is very unequal.