Theuriet studied law in Paris and entered the public service, attaining the rank of chef de bureau, before his retirement in 1886. He published in 1867 the Chemin des bois, a volume of poems, many of which had already appeared in the Revue des Deux Mondes; Le bleu et le noir, poèmes de la vie réelle (1874), Nos oiseaux (1886), and other volumes followed.
M. Theuriet gives natural, simple pictures of rustic and especially of woodland life, and Théophile Gautier compared him to Jaques in the forest of Arden. The best of his novels are those that deal with provincial and country life. Theuriet received in 1890 the prix Vitet from the Académie française, of which he became a member in 1896. He died on 23 April 1907, and was succeeded at the Academy by Jean Richepin. He was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 1879, and was made an Officier de la Légion d'honneur in 1895.
His grandson André Theuriet became a versatile sportsman mostly known as an international rugby union player and swimmer.