During his adolescence was Paulhan a passionate Builder of model airplanes. At that time, aviation was still in its infancy and the aircraft were of wood and paper. While he was in Paris are fulfilled as conscription balloonist, did Paulhan in 1908 took part in a contest organised by Colonel Renard for building model airplanes. Paulhan won first prize: from his model would be built a full size plane. Because it is a very complicated design he got instead was a Voisin, however without engine, where Paulhan, thanks to help from friends, himself a motor to added. With the unit he learned flying and he received the tenth France's pilot's license ,[source? ]soon after pioneers like Farman and Blériot,Latham.
Established In 1909, Paulhan in the villa to Gypaete Sartrouville.  On 15 July 1909, he took part in the world's first aviation meeting at the airport of La Brayelle at Douai, where he established an altitude record of 150 metres. Paulhan established throughout France with several different aircraft records. In particular, he held a short time distance record and a duration record in 2 hours and 43 minutes after 131 kilometres travelled. After a team formed to have Didier Masson was part of which among other things, the number of meetings and matches with Paulhan participated significantly, in which he travelled to England and then to the United States. In January 1910 Paulhan was the star of the Los Angeles Meet Invited to, the first American aviation show. He with two Blériot monoplanes, and two Farman III biplanes. During the show which was held from 10 to 20 January, he improved the world height record using that he brought, and the duration on 1209 metres record that he brought on 1 hour and 49 minutes. He met there, however, a certain William Boeing which he memorized a first flight because, compared with the notables of California, Boeing seemed him irrelevant. [source? ]Also in Salt Lake City and New Orleans gave Paulhan demonstrations and he performed the first flight in from Texas .
In the meantime, however, the Wright brothers had filed a lawsuit because they felt that the ailerons Paulhan and Curtiss appliances made an infringement on their patents. On 17 February 1910 Paulhan was ordered to pay $ 25,000 for every paid display. Paulhan broke his American tour and gave free demonstrations in New York. In March 1910, it was agreed that Paulhan had to pay a deposit of six thousand dollars a week to the final judgment. [source?]
On april 28, Paulhan won a race of London to Manchester, which was organised by the Daily Mail. With a Farman plane explained Paulhan the 298 kilometers in about 12 hours, including 4 hours and 28 minutes pure flying time. 
Back in France worked Paulhan participated in the development of Le Canard ("the duck") by Henri Fabre, a seaplane on floats. Then he built seaplanes under license from Curtiss. Paulhan In February 1912 began a flight school in Villefranche-sur-Mer. In May of that year he was invited by Mayor James in Arcachon Veyrier Montagnières that with Pauhans presence the elections which wanted to liven up. Local photographer Léo Neveu made from the plane of Paulhan the first air photos of reason of Arcachon. 
Paulhan continued with developing two day and three day, but when the first world war broke out he was mobilized with the rank of Lieutenant. During the war he was a fighter pilot. He was flying over luchtduels inSerbia where he obtained two victories, and test pilot was for manufacturers who wanted to optimize their military aircraft.
After the war he developing metal seaplanes, to his only son on May 10, 1937 René died at the controls of a deadly prototype of a fighter plane. Paulhan retired in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, where he died at the age of 79.He was buried in his birthplace.
In 1910 Paulhan was awarded the Légion d'honneur . In Sartrouville is after his death a memorial plaque made to the facade of the villa where he lived from 1909 to 1912. There is also a high school named after him, the College Louis Paulhan.