Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee studied philosophy, literature and classics at Paris University where she completed her Master's degree in Classics and in Philosophy, and then in Chinese.
Elisabeth met Claude Larre s.j. when she was 20, while he was working on his PhD thesis on the Huainanzi and translating the Laozi. As a result of his influence, she began to study Chinese, working with him on Chinese classical texts. Elisabeth also studied modern Chinese with a native speaker and spent a year in Taiwan (1974) to further her studies.