Born in Paris on 17 September 1926. Secondary school at Lycée Montaigne in Paris and Lycée Pothier in Orléans.
University studies in literature at the Sorbonne. Carmelite seminary at Paris’s Institut Catholique.
Ordained a priest on 17 April 1954.
Until 1959, Paris university parish chaplain (Catholic teachers in public schools), Sorbonne literature and science students’ chaplain, and Grande Ecole chaplain (E.N.S. in Saint-Cloud and Fontenay).
Director of the Centre Richelieu in 1959 (would become the CEP).
Director of new Paris region university chaplaincies. In 1969, he was appointed parish priest for Sainte-Jeanne-de-Chantal, in Paris, and then bishop of Orléans on 8 December 1979.
On 27 February 1981, he succeeded Cardinal François Marty as Archbishop of Paris and Ordinary of Eastern Catholics in France.
On 2 February 1983, Pope John Paul II made him Cardinal of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, then of Saint Louis of the French in 1995.
Elected to the French Academy on 15 June 1995, taking Cardinal Albert Decourtray’s seat.
He stepped down as archbishop of Paris in late February 2005.