Studied architecture and mathematics in Paris before returning to Vidalon to manage the family paper mills. With his brother Joseph- Michel, invented the hot air balloon and conducted the first untethered balloon flights (1783). Also developed a process for manufacturing papier vélin. Correspondent of the Académie des sciences (1783); associate (1796).
Son of Pierre Montgolfier, a prosperous paper manufacturer of Vidalon. Brother of Franklin correspondent Maurice-Augustin Montgolfier.