He was the son of Alphonse-Marie-Marcellin-Thomas Bérenger, and followed his father into the legal profession. At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, he was Avocat général of Lyon but resigned to enlist as a volunteer. He was wounded at Nuits on 28 December and was later awarded the Legion of Honour.
Returned to the National Assembly by the département of Drôme, he was for a few days in 1873 minister of public works under Jules Armand Dufaure. He then was made a Senator for life, and was vice president of the French Senate from 1894 to 1897.
In 1871 he founded a society for the reclamation of discharged prisoners, and presided over various bodies formed to secure improvement of the public morals. He succeeded Charles Lucas in 1890 at the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques. Laws introduced in 1885 and 1891 that bear his name concern, respectively, parole and suspended sentences.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bérenger, Alphonse Marie Marcellin Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 769.
- Émile de Marcère, L'Assemblée nationale de 1871. Gouvernement de M. Thiers, Plon, 1904, p. 305
- Jean-Lucien Sanchez, Les lois Bérenger (lois du 14 août 1885 et du 26 mars 1891), Criminocorpus, 2005.