He was educated at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.
Levasseur began teaching in the lycée at Alençon in 1852, and in 1857 became professor of rhetoric at Besançon. He returned to Paris to become professor at the lycée Saint Louis. In 1872 he was appointed professor of geography, history and statistics in the College de France, and subsequently became also professor at the Conservatoire des arts et métiers and at the École libre des sciences politiques, which later became known as the Institut d"Etudes Politiques de Paris.
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques]
In 1868 he was chosen a member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences. Levasseur was one of the founders of the study of commercial geography, and became a member of the Council of Public Instruction, president of the French society of political economy and honorary president of the French geographical society.
Levasseur was elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1894.