QUESTION How do the French view the Legion?

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This question is more directed towards current and ex-legionnaires who had/have contact with frenchmen while serving, though if you have some info about it, please share.

I'm not particulary concerned about how others would view me if i ever got in, but chatting in an international WhatsApp group, i had one person saying that the Legion is ''a joke'' in France as they are all ''murderers and rapists''. I went on to educate the guy on how the Legion doesn't even take these people anymore, but i'm curious to know what misconception (or not) do french people have towards legionnaires. Thanks for your answers.
 
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Pink Floyd

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From my own experience the average French person doesn’t care, nor is he/ or she interested in their Foreign Legion. Don’t be fooled by the military parade on Bastille Day (14th July). For the other 364 days of the year they want nothing to do with you. Just on Bastille Day, it is the foreigners in the crowd that give the Legion the biggest cheers...not the French.
 

jonny

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Not sure, actually, in my case with the French, some have been favourable, others not very interested, but none outright negative. On the other hand, in all the other countries that I have visited around the world I have found the Legion in very high esteem. Good question, though.
 
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Not sure, actually, in my case with the French, some have been favourable, others not very interested, but none outright negative. On the other hand, in all the other countries that I have visited around the world I have found the Legion in very high esteem. Good question, though.
I too thought the Legion would be better regarded outside of France. In the Brazilian Military she is highly regarded as it presents an opportunity to serve again and actually do things like Opexs.

Though, personally, if my own country had a foreign army with the record the Legion has especially considering training and mindset, i'd be very proud, though the modern french doesn't strike me as very militaristic.
 

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This question is more directed towards current and ex-legionnaires who had/have contact with frenchmen while serving, though if you have some info about it, please share.

I'm not particulary concerned about how others would view me if i ever got in, but chatting in an international WhatsApp group, i had one person saying that the Legion is ''a joke'' in France as they are all ''murderers and rapists''. I went on to educate the guy on how the Legion doesn't even take these people anymore, but i'm curious to know what misconception (or not) do french people have towards legionnaires. Thanks for your answers.
The answers given by Pink Floyd / Jonny/ papillon. Put it in a nutshell! Me? The French are as diverse as their wines! Kinshasa airport may 1978. I remember a bunch of French civilians watching us and cheering us on as we boarded the aircraft for the jump on kolwezi. Viva la France! We heard. Bollocks! I thought. Viva la legion! We are the ones who are going to spill our blood for la France!
 
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What’s the big interest in your question and why?
Curious to know what people in a country that has an army division made of foreigners (and i'd say sometimes even more famous than their regular army) actually think of it.
 

Pink Floyd

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If the Legion was to be disbanded next month the vast majority of the French population would scratch their heads saying “I thought they were disbanded a hundred years ago”. So for the blokes thinking that serving will get you at the front of the Paris restaurant queue, or that young ladies will throw roses at your feet...don’t be f****** delusional. You join for the adventure, the challenge to prove to yourself that you have the mettle to handle the good, and the bad times. You go to the Legion, the Legion doesn’t come to you. Code of the Legionnaire states that you are a volunteer. The Legion reminds you of that everyday of your contract.
 
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Papillon

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Never really had that conversation as I just needed a place to escape to and at that point in my life the Legion regardless of the little information I new was the best opportunity at that time, as for how the French viewed us or thought about us it was the last thing on my mind and I did not give a flying f.ck and still don’t give a f.ck this was my personal adventure it just so happened it was in France never gave the Spanish Legion a second thought!
 
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Not many people in the US know about the legion, save for older vets, some younger ones, and historians. I do know that when I was in the Army, there were 2 guys I heard of who were in the legion, and they were considered high speed. The legion is respected by people who know about it because of the types of troops they produce.

The people who have no clue would have probably say, "hey, nice hats".
 
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In all my years post Legion, I had only a handful of people that were interested to know more about my time in the Legion.
I only really knew the legion still existed when I was in the british army because a couple of our guys did a french commando course. Mentioned Meeting (I think foreign legion instructors) can't remember but they mentioned the legion. Said the fitness was not bad. Before that I never heard anything about the legion apart from old Films on the telly 😄
 

kkillert0fu

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Not many people in the US know about the legion, save for older vets, some younger ones, and historians. I do know that when I was in the Army, there were 2 guys I heard of who were in the legion, and they were considered high speed. The legion is respected by people who know about it because of the types of troops they produce.

The people who have no clue would have probably say, "hey, nice hats".
I've known about it from a young age and for the longest time assumed most guys in the US had some inherent knowledge about it as well. But to my surprise, any time I make an offhand reference about it, it seems to go unnoticed. I've been especially surprised whenever I meet a guy who seems a bit down and out, and for whom the Legion might be a viable option, and even after explaining what the Legion is it doesn't seem to really register. So yea, the Legion is surprising unknown to the majority of people outside of anybody who has any military interest.
 
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I've known about it from a young age and for the longest time assumed most guys in the US had some inherent knowledge about it as well. But to my surprise, any time I make an offhand reference about it, it seems to go unnoticed. I've been especially surprised whenever I meet a guy who seems a bit down and out, and for whom the Legion might be a viable option, and even after explaining what the Legion is it doesn't seem to really register. So yea, the Legion is surprising unknown to the majority of people outside of anybody who has any military interest.
To be quite honest, the US is a large place. It isn't surprising that many are unaware of things that go on outside the country. I'm also willing to bet that compared to many other countries, not many Americans have served in the legion.
 
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The only reason I heard of it was by chance. Heard about the legion from a comment someone left on social media, looked into it. Also aided me in remembering that when I used to visit the VFW post near here (my grandfather was in the Army), some of the vets there talked about it in a conversation I overheard.

To be honest, it gave me hope. Especially now.
 

jonny

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To be quite honest, the US is a large place. It isn't surprising that many are unaware of things that go on outside the country. I'm also willing to bet that compared to many other countries, not many Americans have served in the legion.
Yep, my experience as well. In my 5 years in the legion I never met a single American, south or north. But there was one former US native legionnaire who now, somehow, was the owner of a bar in Sidi Bel Abbes. ‘Of all the gin joints in all of the cities in all of the world, I happened to walk into his’, and he was not Rich of the Casablanca movie, for sure.

He was a bit of a prick, according to me, and we fell out when I only had about a dozen Kronenbourgs inside me, and we had an argument, as happens occasionally with recalcitrant bar staff. Anyway, good ridance, and I never went back. 😅

Nah, Americans are not suited for the legion, I reckon.
 

jonny

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Quote of the day: I’m only a bull buggerer living in a hollow tree, eating kale and practicing yoga. The cows love me.
 

dusaboss

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In all my years post Legion, I had only a handful of people that were interested to know more about my time in the Legion.
That strange. FFL is usually interesting exotic topic. I met many people pretending to be legionnaires.

Also most people I meet know at least some basics about FFL
 

jonny

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Hi Dusa, exactly right. Once people realize I’m a former legionnaire they can’t be stopping introducing me as such. Some times I have to tell them I have actually done other things in my life as well. Not just the legion bit.

And on many occasions around the world when I have been in need of some assistance from the local police or military, just showing them a proof of my legion credentials has opened all doors. Police transport to the best hotel in town, no problem. A drink with the local commandante, nadas problemas, hombre!
 

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