Pascal's father and mother were Martin Pascal, the treasurer of France, and Marguerite Pascal de Mons. He also had three daughters, two of whom survived past childhood: Gilberte (1620–?) and Jacqueline (1625–1661). His wife Antoinette Begon died in 1626.
He was a tax official, lawyer and wealthy member of the petite noblesse, who also had an interest in science and mathematics. He was trained in the law at Paris and received his law degree in 1610. That same year, he returned to Clermont and purchased the post of counsellor for Bas-Auvergne, the area surrounding Clermont.
In 1631, five years after the death of his wife, Étienne Pascal moved with his children to Paris. The newly arrived family soon hired Louise Delfault, a maid who eventually became an instrumental member of the family. Étienne, who never remarried, decided that he alone would educate his children, for they all showed extraordinary intellectual ability, particularly his son Blaise.
Étienne Pascal served on a scientific committee (whose members included Pierre Hérigone and Claude Mydorge) set up to determine whether Jean-Baptiste Morin's scheme for determining longitude from the Moon's motion was practical.
The Limaçon was first studied and named by Étienne Pascal and so this mathematical curve is often called Pascal's Limaçon.