Roubaix did not receive any formal education in music, but began studying jazz on his own at age 15, forming a band and learning trombone as an autodidact. His father, filmmaker Paul de Roubaix, made educational films, and offered to let François compose scores for them. His first film score was for a 1961 film by Robert Enrico; through the late 1960s and early 1970s he scored films for Enrico, Jose Giovanni, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Pierre Mocky, and Yves Boisset. Notable in his style is his use of folk elements, as well as electronic musical instruments such as synthesizers and early drum machines. Roubaix had a home studio where he would overdub parts until he was satisfied with the result. He died in 1975 in a diving accident; in 1976, his score for Le Vieux Fusil was awarded a César Award.