Becoming a novice in a Franciscan monastery early in his life, Rabelais went as a monk to Fontenay-le-Comte. He studied Greek and Latin, as well as science, law, philology, and letters, becoming known and respected by the humanists of his time, including Budé. Harassed because of his humanist studies, Rabelais petitioned Pope Clement VII and received permission to leave the Franciscan order and enter the Benedictine monastery of Maillezais; the monastery's scholarly bishop became his friend and patron.
The facts concerning Rabelais's study of medicine are obscure, but it is probable that he studied in Paris and at other universities before receiving (1530) his degree of bachelor of medicine at the Univ. of Montpellier. In 1532 he went to Lyons, then an intellectual center, and there, besides practicing medicine, he edited various Latin works for the printer Sebastian Gryphius. For another publisher he composed burlesque almanacs.