He was first a member of the 1990s punk rock group Zabriskie Pont. After receiving his degree in Literature, he taught high school in Dreux and in an inner city middle school in Paris. He published his first novel, Jouer juste in 2003. In 2005, he published Dans la diagonale and Un démocrate, Mick Jagger 1960-1969, a fictionalized account of the life of Mick Jagger
François Bégaudeau is a movie critic for the French version of Playboy, having previously worked for the Cahiers du cinéma. He also was a regular contributor for several French reviews, including Inculte, Transfuge and So Foot. Since September 2006, he is the anchor for La Matinal on Canal+ television.
He worked on the screenplay of Entre les murs, a film based on his 2006 novel, in collaboration with Laurent Cantet. He also starred in the film, which received the Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.