Did you know that today, there are more than 8 000 foreign soldiers in the French army? They are part of the “Foreign Legion”. It is an elite branch of the army that gathers nearly 150 different nationalities: Romanians, Polish, Ukrainians, Brazilians, Russians, Hungarians, Chinese, Nepalese…
France is one of the few countries that allows foreign volunteers to be part of the army in time of peace to defend the nation.
The foreigners of the Legion have contributed, since 1831, to build French history: they took part in the colonization and decolonization wars. Today, we can see “green berets” on the streets, in “Vigipirate” operations, but also abroad alongside the French forces. When they parade on the Champs Elysees on July 14th (photo), they wear the white parade kepi.
To go further
- Have fun with the following exercise: try to match the countries’ names with the associated nationalities
- Find here homonyms with pictures to avoid confusions and to see all meanings of the word “corps“: le corps d’élite, le corps humain, le corps d’un bâtiment, le corps chimique, le corps d’état, le corps de métier, pleurer toutes les larmes de son corps, prendre corps, avoir un esprit de corps, avoir du corps
Discovering more about the subject
- Discover the Legion’s history through its museum
- Find practical information on work permits on the SamSam – the guide for foreigner’s coming to France
France celebrates equality on Bastille day (July 14th, the National holiday). Equality is a right that French people have since the French Revolution. In this video, Bariza Khiari explains the origins of the Revolution
For the full video and many others subtitled in 7 languages, register on Ensemble en France’s MOOC. It’s free!