He taught at St Vincent's College in Rennes and in Saint-Malo, and lectured in dogmatic theology at the major seminary. For six years he worked at the National Religious Education Centre (CNEC). He later served as rector of the Catholic University of Angers.
On 24 October 1972 he was appointed Bishop of Evreux and received episcopal ordination on 17 December.
On 13 August 1981 he was promoted to Archbishop of Tours. Following the 1985 Synod of Bishops he was one of the Bishops responsible for overseeing the preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
He resigned as Archbishop of Tours on 22 July 1997.
Called personally by the Holy Father to participate in the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2001).
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by the Bl. John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, of the Title of S. Maria della Salute a Primavalle (Holy Mary of Health at Primavalle).
Cardinal Jean Honoré died on the 28 February 2013.