Béraud was born in Saint Petersburg. His father (also called Jean) was a sculptor and was likely working on the site of St. Isaacs Cathedral at the time of his sons birth. Bérauds mother was one Geneviève Eugénie Jacquin; following the death of Bérauds father, the family moved to Paris. Béraud was in the process of being educated as a lawyer until the occupation of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870.
Béraud became a student of Léon Bonnat, and exhibited his paintings at the Salon for the first time in 1872. However, he did not gain recognition until 1876, with his On the Way Back from the Funeral. He exhibited with the Society of French Watercolorists at the 1889 Worlds Fair in Paris.