Andler was born to a Protestant family in Strasbourg. In 1887 and 1888, Andler failed to achieve his agrégation in philosophy, judged by Jules Lachelier, inspector-general in charge of philosophy, as showing "excessive bias" towards German philosophy. He therefore changed to take the German literature agrégation in 1889, passing out top of his class. Andler became professor of German at the Sorbonne in 1901 and at the Collège de France in 1926. Amongst his works were writings on Nietzsche, a commentary on The Communist Manifesto, and a life of his friend Lucien Herr.