The son of Adolphe, a clockmaker, and Reine, a cap presser, he studied in Marseille, then in Vannes. A short play which enjoyed some success at the Odéon, Pierrot héritier, led him to quit, in 1865, the University, and journalism. He was 23. He started to contribute to Figaro littéraire and composed his first Provençal verses, which were published in the Almanach avignonnais by Joseph Roumanille.
The subject of all of his Provençal pieces are the area, and particularly the countryside, around Sisteron : Fontfrediero, Lis Estello negro, Raubatori.
In French, Paul Arène published Parnassiculet, in which he talked about his life, in the style of Parnassianism. Like his friend Octave Mirbeau in 1884, Paul Arène collaborated actively with Alphonse Daudet in the publishing of his Provençal chronicles, published as L'Événement and which were republished under the title Lettres de mon moulin.
In 1868, Paul Arène wrote his chef-d'œuvre, Jean des Figues. After 1870, he wrote chronicles, poems, among which Le Tor d'Entraÿs, Le Clos des âmes, Le Canot des six capitaines, Au Bon Soleil and La Gueuse parfumée, and two collections. He also wrote La Chèvre d'or, Les Ogresses, Le Midi bouge and Domnine.
- Works by or about Paul Arène at Internet Archive (scanned books)
- Le Parnassiculet contemporain Collection of verses, Preceded by L'Hôtel du Dragon-Bleu (2nd ed. 1872).