He was orphaned at the age of seven and after having been educated in Paris, he was sent to Saint Malo to study navigation. He became a lieutenant of the French East India Company in 1731. He succeeded in convincing his employer to provide him with two ships and send him on an exploration mission in the South Atlantic. With his ships Aigle and Marie he discovered on 1 January 1739 a tiny island which was named Bouvet Island after him; however, he mislabeled the coordinates for the island, causing it to be lost until it was rediscovered seven decades later in 1808. Shortly afterwards, he had to abandon the expedition because most of his crew had fallen ill and returned to the Cape of Good Hope and later to France.
Ten years after his expedition, Bouvet de Lozier was appointed governor of the Mascarene Islands twice, once from 1750 to 1752 and a second time from 1757 to 1763.