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Legion of Honor

Verified 12 août 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

The Legion of Honor is the highest French distinction. It rewards the eminent merits given to the Nation. It is not possible to ask for the Legion of Honor: you have to be proposed by someone else. The Legion of Honor consists of knights, officers, commanders, then great officers and grand crosses.

General case

The following 3 conditions must be met:

  • The person concerned must have outstanding merits in the exercise, for at least 20 years, of activities for the benefit of the general interest and the Nation.
  • It must be proposed by a minister, after consideration of a file drawn up at the request of a central administration, a prefect, an association, a political figure (mayor, deputy, etc.) or a group of at least 50 people (for citizens' initiative).
  • The proposal must be validated by the Council of the Order of the Legion of Honor , chaired by the Grand Chancellor.

  FYI : you do not have to be a french citizen. Foreigners may be decorated with the Legion of Honor, but they may not become members of the Order of the Legion of Honor.

Military (excluding general officers)

The following conditions must be met:

  • The person concerned must have outstanding merits in the exercise, for at least 20 years, of activities for the benefit of the general interest and the Nation
  • It must be entered on a specific competition table

  FYI : you do not have to be a french citizen. Foreigners may be decorated with the Legion of Honor, but they may not become members of the Order of the Legion of Honor.

The President of the Republic decides on the appointment to the rank of Knight of the Legion of Honor. He signs an appointment decree which is published in the Official Journal.

A holder of the Legion of Honor may wear the distinctive signs associated with it only after a ceremony (public or private) during which the decoration is given to him.

Purchase decoration

The medal is not provided by the administration.

The holder may purchase the medal from the Monnaie de Paris or from private manufacturers.

Preparation of the ceremony

Selection of the person presenting the medal

The future knight lives in France

The decoration must be given by:

  • a member of the Legion of Honor
  • or a member of the government
  • or the representative of the State in the department or community of assignment of the future knight.

If the future knight does not know any, he can contact the society of members of the Legion of Honor:

The future knight lives abroad

The decoration must be given by:

  • a member of the Legion of Honor
  • or an ambassador from France.

If the future knight does not know any, he can contact the society of members of the Legion of Honor:

  Please note : for foreigners, the reception ceremony is not compulsory.

Request for approval

The future knight must send to the Grand Chancery an application for authorization of reception, accompanied by the check of payment of chancellery fees ..

A patent, signed by the President of the Republic, is granted to the holder of the Legion of Honor after the presentation of his decoration. It attests to the fact that the holder belongs to the Order of the Legion of Honor.

Only the Legion of Honor assigned in a military capacity is entitled to a annual reward ..

  Please note :  the daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters of the decorated french, as well as the daughters and granddaughters of the decorated foreigners, can ask to integrate the educational houses of the Legion of Honor ..