Born in Nantes (France), Vidie began his career as a lawyer but soon turned to engineering, particularly the design of steam engines. The study of manometers awakened his interest in barometers. In c. 1844, he built and patented an efficient aneroid barometer. The instrument, however, did not meet with immediate success in France. Vidie turned to the English market, where he was more fortunate. But his patent soon became the focus of a protracted legal battle between Vidie and other inventors of similar instruments.