He was born in Roubaix, France and in 1908 he settled with his family in Paris. He studied Greek language and grammar at the Sorbonne. He participated in the battles of the First World War as a volunteer, where he was wounded. In 1920 he was elected professor at the Sorbonne and in 1945 he was awarded a doctorate with his thesis on the style and language of the Gospel of John. He taught for two years at the Lyceum of Havre and in 1925 was seconded to the French Institute of Athens, of which in 1935 he assumed the directorship. With the outbreak of World War II, he remained in Athens, as a secret representative of Charles de Gaulle, but was arrested in 1941 by German collaborators and sent to France by order of the Vichy government. There he remained under house arrest in Aurignac until 1944. After the liberation he returned to Greece, where he once again took over the direction of the French Institute. In 1960, he refused to hand over to the French ambassador the archives of the Asia Minor Studies Center, which was housed in the building of the French Institute, considering it to be the property of the Greek people, as a result of which he was fired from his position the following year. After his dismissal, he worked as a professor of modern Greek language and philology at the University of Aix-en-Provenc, a position he held until 1971. From this position he published the journal Modern Greek studies. In 1964 he was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Athens.
He died in Athens on July 24, 1976 and was buried in the First Cemetery of Athens. He was married to Melpo Logothetis, better known as Melpo Merlier, and they had no children.
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