Jacques Henri was the oldest son of Guy Aldonce de Durfort (1605–1665), marquis of Duras, count of Rozan and of Lorges, maréchal de camp and of Élisabeth de La Tour d'Auvergne, sister of Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Viscount of Turenne.
In 1651, he followed Condé into rebellion but came back into the service of the king in 1657, with the title of lieutenant-general. He played a major part in the conquest of Franche-Comté and was named by Louis XIV governor of that province and marshal in 1675. In 1689, he took part in the destruction of the Palatinate during the War of the Grand Alliance.
Marriage and children
He married Marguerite Félice de Lévis, daughter of Charles de Lévis, Duke of Ventadour and Marie de La Guiche. Marguerite Félice was the sister in law of Charlotte de La Mothe Houdancourt and aunt of the Duchess of Rohan-Rohan.. With her he had at least four children:
- Jacques Henri II of Durfort, 2nd Duke of Duras (1670–1697);
- Felice Armande de Durfort (1672–1730), married Paul Jules de La Porte, Duke Mazarin, son of Armand Charles de La Porte de La Meilleraye and Hortense Mancini;
- Louise Bernardine de Durfort (1675–1703), married Jean-François Paul de Blanchefort-Créquy (1678–1703), 5th Duke of Lesdiguières, Comte de Sault, Pair de France;
- Jean-Baptiste de Durfort, 3rd Duke of Duras (1684–1770), Marshal of France.
- Norton, Lucy (ed.) Duc de Saint-Simon " Memoirs " Prion Books London 1999 Vol.1 p.126