Legion of Honour

The National Order of the Legion of Honour (French: Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur [ɔʁdʁ nɑsjɔnal də la leʒjɔ̃ dɔnœʁ]), formerly the Royal Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre royal de la Légion d'honneur), is the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, it has been retained (with occasional slight alterations) by all later French governments and regimes.

National Order of the Legion of Honour
Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur
Current version of the Grand Cross of the order given by President René Coty to Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees
Awarded by President of France
TypeOrder of merit
Established19 May 1802
MottoHonneur et patrie ("Honour and Fatherland")
EligibilityMilitary and civilians
Awarded for
Excellent civil or military conduct
delivered, upon official investigation
FounderNapoleon Bonaparte
Grand MasterPresident of France
Grand chancelierBenoît Puga
  • 00,0  1  Grand-maître
  • 00,067  Grand(s)-croix
  • 00,314  Grand(s) officier(s)
  • 03,009  Commandeur(s)
  • 17,032  Officier(s)
  • 74,384  Chevalier(s)
First induction14 July 1804
Next (higher)None
Next (lower)

  • Order's streamer

  • Grand-croix

  • Grand-officier

  • Commandeur

  • Officier

  • Chevalier

Ribbon bars of the order

The order's motto is Honneur et Patrie ("Honour and Fatherland"); its seat is the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur next to the Musée d'Orsay, on the left bank of the Seine in Paris.[lower-alpha 1]

The order is divided into five degrees of increasing distinction: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand officier (Grand Officer) and Grand-croix (Grand Cross).

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