Barbot de Villeneuve was born in La Rochelle. She is particularly noted for her La Belle et la Bête, which is the oldest known variant of the fairy taleBeauty and the Beast. First published in La jeune américaine, et les contes marins, it is over a hundred pages long, containing many subplots, and involving a genuinely savage - i.e. "stupid" - Beast, not merely a change of appearance. Her lengthy version was abridged, rewritten, and published by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, to produce the version most commonly retold.
In 1767 she wrote a novel La Jardinière de Vincennes. She was a close friend of the controversial writer Claude Jolyot de Crébillon. She died in Paris.