He was the son of Jean Baptiste Foret de Belidor, an officer of dragoons, and his wife, Marie Héber but was orphaned at five months old and brought up by the family of his godfather, an artillery officer named de Fossiébourg. Bélidor enlisted in the army at a young age. After leaving the army, he developed an interest in science and engineering, and became professor of artillery at the school of Fère-en-Tardenois in Aisne. For a while he worked on measuring the arc of the earth. In the years to come he published several works of great importance, on a wide range of subjects, including hydraulics, mathematics, and civil and military engineering. His most famous book is L'architecture hydraulique (published in four volumes from 1737-1753). Here, integral calculus is used for the first time in solving technical problems.