He published in 1824 an Apologie pour l'école romantique, and took an active part in Parisian journalism. His appointment, in 1828, to the department of manuscripts in the Bibliotheque royale left him leisure to pursue his studies in medieval French literature. Paulin Paris lived before minute methods of research had been generally applied to modern literature, and his chief merit is that by his numerous editions of early French poems he continued the work begun by Dominique Meon in arousing general interest in the then little-known epics of chivalry.
Admitted to the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres in 1837, he was shortly afterwards appointed on the commission entrusted with the continuation of the Histoire littéraire de la France. In 1853 a chair of medieval literature was founded at the College de France, and Paulin Paris became the first occupant. He retired in 1872 with the title of honorary professor, and was promoted officer of the Legion of Honour in the next year.
His works include: