Théodore Salomé was born in Paris. He completed all of his musical studies at the Conservatoire de Paris, under the tutelage of François Bazin for harmony and accompaniment, and François Benoist for organ. He won several honorable awards, including: second prize in harmony (1855), second prize in organ and in harmony (1856), second and third prize in harmony and organ (1857), and second prize in harmony (1859). His cantata Atala was awarded the premier Second Grand Prix of the Prix de Rome in 1861.
In the same year Théodore Dubois was awarded the first grand prize, and Eugène Anthiome and Titus Constantin won the deuxième Second Grand Prix. In 1863, the architect Théodore Ballu began the construction of the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris. (He had already built the Basilique Sainte-Clotilde in 1861 and would construct the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) of Paris some ten years later). Situated in the 9th arrondissement of Paris on Estienne-d'Orves Square, Sainte-Trinité was blessed in November 1867. It was not consecrated, however, until 1913, the eve of World War I. The reason for this forty-six year gap is unknown. La Trinité, although rather austere, was in that period one of the most important churches in Paris. Among the parishioners of this affluent congregation were Charles Gounod and Georges Bizet, who were both quite fond of Salomé. Gounod sent several students to Salomé for organ lessons, including his dear friend, Paul Poirson. Jules Massenet, Ambroise Thomas and François Bazin also sent composition students to him.