Gaston Maspero was the son of Lombard immigrants and first attended the Lycée Louis -le- Grand in Paris. 1865 to 1867 he studied at the École normale supérieure. In 1867 he met Auguste Mariette know who gave him hieroglyphic texts to study. He was appointed in 1869 at the École des Hautes Études professor of Egyptology. Since 1874, Maspero was a professor of Egyptian philology and archeology at the Collège de France.
In 1880, he traveled for the first time on behalf of a French archaeological mission in Egypt Valley of the Kings. 1881 by Mariette's death, Maspero was appointed to succeed him in the Egyptian Service of Antiquities de l' Égypte and the Bulak Museum, now the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. This office, he first headed to 1886, then again from 1899 until his retirement in 1914. 1883 he was elected as a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres.
Throughout his life, he conducted research in Egypt. With Emil Brugsch he discovered the first Pyramid Texts (1881 ), was present at the discovery of royal mummies at Deir el- Bahari in office ( Deir el- Bahri) and organized the scientific antiquity service in Egypt. Maspero was the first by a cataloging of objects in the Cairo Egyptian Museum, founded in 1900 the Catalogue général des antiquités Egyptiennes du Musée du Caire and was then the editor of the first 50 volumes of this publication.
His son Henri was a famous sinologist, his son Jean papyrologist.