Fayolle studied at the École polytechnique, where he graduated with the class of 1873. During his career he served in the artillery. From 1897 to 1908 he taught artillery at the École supérieure de Guerre. He retired in 1914 with the rank of brigadier general.He was born in Le Puy en velas.
With the outbreak of the First World War,
was recalled from retirement by the French commander-in-chief Joseph Joffreand given command of the 70th Infantry Division.
In 1916, was given command of the Sixth Army, which he commanded at the battle of the Somme, under the command of Ferdinand Foch's Northern Army Group. In early 1917, Fayolle was transferred to command the First Army. When Philippe Pétain was appointed Chief of the General Staff in April 1917, Fayolle was put in command of the Army Group Center, to the disappointment of Foch, who had hoped for the command himself; Pétain replaced Nivelle as Commander-in-Chief in May 1917.
On 16 November 1917, after the Italians met disaster at Caporetto, Fayolle was transferred to Italy with six divisions and made commander in chief of the French troops supporting the Italians. Fayolle stayed in Italy until March 1918, when he was recalled to France and put at the head of the 55 division strong Army Group Reserve, with which he played a role in stopping the last big German offensives. After the allied victory in the Second Battle of the Marne, he took part in the allied counteroffensive until the end of the war.
He commanded occupation forces in the Palatinat and Rheinhessen and was a member of the allied Control Commission. Fayolle was named in 1920 a member of the French Conseil Supérieur de la Guerre, the highest French military council. The next year he was made to Marshal of France