Frédéric Christol first studied art at the l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but later decided to train as a missionary. In 1882, while on vacation from the Mission Populaire Evangélique, he arrived in Lesotho, where family circumstances forced him to remain. He joined the Paris Evangelical Mission Society and worked at Maphutseng from 1885 to 1887 and then at Hermon, on the Caledon River near Wepener, to his retirement in 1908. In addition to his missionary work he made drawings of Bushman and Basuto life, and in 1892 was awarded a gold medal at the Kimberley Exhibition for his collection of African objects. During 1907 and 1908, with the help of his wife, he collected some 130 plants in the southern part of the Lesotho lowlands, an area where few collections had so far been made. His specimens, some with Sesotho names, were sent to Paris.
Christol and his family returned to France in 1908 and settled at Pantin. Here he preached and wrote nine books and some articles, all of which he illustrated himself. His Au sud de l'Afrique, published in Paris in 1897, contains 150 of his own illustrations and is a study of Basuto and Bushman customs and of missionary life in southern Africa. His other works included Les Bassoutos (1898), and L'Art dans l'Afrique australe: impressions et souvenirs de mission (1911).