Jules Verne was born on February 8, 1828 in Nantes, France. His father, Pierre, was an attorney and his mother was named Sophie. Jules also had four siblings and he was the oldest of the five children. His parents were pretty wealthy and owned a house in the city of Nantes, as well as a country home on the banks of the Loire River.
In 1837, Verne began studying at a boarding school at Saint Donatien College in Nantes. One of his favorite subjects was Latin and he became quite fluent in the language. It is also believed that he studied mathematics and drawing under a French inventor named Brutus de Villeroi, who may have helped to inspire Verne's wild imagination.
After graduating from the boarding school, Verne moved to the city of Paris to study for the bar examination. In 1848, he began writing librettos for operettas with the help of Michel Carre. Many of his stories involved adventure and giant voyages, accompanied by plenty of important scientific details.
Verne's father eventually discovered that he was writing instead of studying law. He was furious and stopped sending money to support him. Verne was forced to take a position as a stockbroker in order to get by, a job that he loathed.
Verne also met a woman named Honorine de Viane Morel, who was widowed with two young daughters. He married her on January 10, 1857 and she became a driving force behind his writings with her constant encouragement. On August 3, 1861, they had a child, Michael Jules Verne, who was always getting into trouble.
His first publisher was Pierre-Jules Hetzel, who was one of the most important publishers in France at the time. Many publishers rejected Verne's work as "too scientific" and Hetzel frequently helped Verne to rewrite it for the masses. One such story was "Five Weeks in a Ballon", which was published in 1863 and was about balloon exploration of Africa.
In 1864, Verne published one of his most famous works, "Journey to the Center of the Earth". The story follows an expedition that enters the Earth and runs into some very bizarre plants and animals. The story was a tremendous success and has since been made into several films.
With his financial success, Verne decided to buy a ship known as the "Saint-Michel" in 1867. He later upgraded to better models, including the Saint-Michel II and Saint-Michel III, the latter of which he used to sail around Europe. He was quite fond of the sea and took advantage of his ship frequently.
In 1869, he published "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", which is by far his most popular work. The story is about a submarine named the Nautilus, which is run and owned by Captain Nemo. Nemo is a very bitter man and uses the submarine to sink ships, but is forced to take on some pseudo-prisoners. The book remains popular to this day and has been made into numerous films, including the famous Disney adaptation.
In 1872, he published "Around the World in Eighty Days", a book that follows a competition to travel around the world in only eighty days. It was also very successful and adapted into several films. His next novels weren't nearly as successful as these three, but he continued writing nonetheless.
On March 9, 1886, Verne was on his way home, when his nephew, Gaston, shot at him. It is unclear why Gaston shot the gun, but the first bullet missed Verne and the second struck his leg. Verne was forced to walk with a limp after the incident and Gaston was admitted into an asylum, where he stayed for the rest of his life.
In 1887, the deaths of his publisher, Hetzel, and his mother struck Verne hard. He continued writing, but his works took a remarkably dark tone, reflecting a change in his personality. In 1888, Verne entered the field of politics and was elected town councilor of the city of Amiens, a position that he served for fifteen years.
On March 24, 1905, Jules Verne died from diabetes complications.