He was born in Orléans, where he went to school before moving on to Lycée Louis-le-Grand and then École Normale Supérieure both in Paris. Then he became lecturer at the French School of Rome, an institute for history, archaeology, and social sciences, in 1892. From 1894, he wrote for the Revue des deux mondes, a monthly literary and cultural affairs magazine, publishing a lot of articles on Catholic history, for example: L’Allemagne religieuse : le protestantisme et le catholicisme (The religious Germany: Protestantism and Catholicism), L’Église libre dans l’Europe libre (The free Church in the free Europe), Les Origines religieuses du Canada (The religious origins of Canada), L’Effort catholique dans la France d’aujourd’hui (The Catholic efforts in today's France), and Le Catholicisme, doctrine d’action (Catholicism, doctrine of action). In 1922, he was elected a member of the Académie française, where he would serve as secretary for the rest of his life.
He became son-in-law of the French president Félix Faure. His second marriage was to the Catholic writer Juliette Heuzey, who published a book called Dieu premier servi. Georges Goyau : sa vie et son œuvre in his memory in 1947