Republican Guard (France)

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Garde républicaine
Blason paris 75.svg
Active 1848–present
Country Flag of France.svg France
Branch National Gendarmerie
Type Infantry,
Role Honour Guard,
Size 2,800
Garrison/HQ Paris
Decorations Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Légion d'honneur
Croix de Guerre des Theatres d'Operations Exterieurs ribbon.svg Croix de Guerre TOE

The Republican Guard (French: Garde républicaine) is part of the French Gendarmerie. It is responsible for providing guards of honor for the State and security in the Paris area.

Its missions include:

The close physical protection of the President of France is entrusted to the GSPR (Groupe de sécurité de la présidence de la République) a mixed police - gendarmerie unit which is not part of the Guard. The Guard however provides counter-sniper teams (Observateurs-contre-tireurs) and SWAT teams (called pelotons d'intervention or intervention platoons - see below).

The Republican Guard also represents France at international events at home or abroad. It is twinned with the Red Guard of Senegal.[1]


John Kerry and Jean-Marc Ayrault leaving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, guarded by the Republican Guard.
Cavalry officer.

The Republican Guard is the heir of the various bodies that preceded it in the course of French history and whose task was to honor and protect the high authorities of the State and City of Paris : Gardes Françaises of the Kings, Consular and Imperial guard of Napoleon, etc.. Its name derives from the Municipal Guard of Paris, established on 12 Vendémiaire XI (October 4, 1802) by Napoleon Bonaparte. It distinguished itself in battles of historical significance, including Danzig and Friedland in 1807, Alcolea in 1808 and Burgos in 1812.

In 1813 it was dissolved following the attempted coup of General Malet and replaced by the Imperial Gendarmerie of Paris and then, under the Restoration, the Royal Guard of Paris and the Royal Mounted Police of Paris. In 1830, it was recreated, and again removed after the Revolution of 1848 in favor of the Civic Guard (which proved to be a transient institution).

June 1848 saw the creation of the Republican Guard of Paris, including an infantry regiment and a regiment of cavalry. It received its insignia July 14, 1880. It took part in the First World War and saw its flag and banner decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Legion of Honour. During the Second World War, it reported to the police headquarters and took the name of Guard of Paris. Part of its staff rallied to General de Gaulle and the Guard was involved in the fighting alongside the FFI during the liberation of Paris.

In 1952, the guard was renamed the Legion of the Republican Guard of Paris and took part in the Indochina War, which earned it the Croix de Guerre.

In 1978, the guard took its current name of "Republican Guard." President Giscard d'Estaing gave it, on 11 November 1979, its new insignia. Michele Alliot-Marie, Minister of Defence, said in October 2002: "The Republican Guard has a popularity that transcends borders," it contributes "to the splendour of the French military and France."[2]


Ceremonial duties

Brazilian President Lula reviewing the Republican Guard in 2005.

These ceremonial functions are performed mainly by the first infantry regiment, the cavalry regiment and occasionally by the second infantry regiment.

Detachments from the cavalry regiment reinforce the two infantry regiments in carrying out ceremonial and security duties in and around state buildings. These include the lining of both sides of the entry stairs of the Elysée or Matignon Palaces (and other buildings) by dismounted cavalry on special occasions. These Republican Guards belong to the Cavalry Regiment and not to the infantry units whose mission is to ensure the security of these palaces and of senior government figures. Certain ceremonial duties in the form of honour guards are performed when state visits are made to the Paris museums or the Opera, as well as other ceremonies (for example at the French Academy).[3]

Security missions

Other missions

Some guards are assigned to more specific missions:


The Republican Guard belongs to the French National Gendarmerie. It is made up of approx. 2,800 men and women (drawn from an overall body of 100,000 gendarmes). As a historically Parisian organization, the guards wear the armorial bearings of the city on their uniforms.

It consists of two infantry regiments (one includes a motorcycle squadron) and a horse cavalry regiment. It also has four musical formations, as well as display teams demonstrating prowess in horseback or motorcycle maneuvers. The Guard is commanded by a general de division (major general). It is headquartered in the Quartier des Célestins,[4] Paris, built in 1895-1901, designed by the renowned French architect Jacques Hermant.

Cavalry regiment

Mounted band.

Headquartered in the Quartier des Célestins, and Quartier Carnot barracks the cavalry regiment is made up of approx. 480 gendarmes and civilians of which a little more than 10% are women. It has approximately 550 horses (11% mares) and remains the last mounted regiment in the French armed forces.

The regiment is composed of:

  • Three squadrons[5] of cavalry (the first is based at Quartier des Célestins (in Paris) and two others based at Quartier Carnot also in Paris at the fringe of Bois de Vincennes),
  • A squadron hors rang (based at Les Célestins) and composed of:
    • Mounted Band
    • horse-shoeing (farriers),
    • veterinary service.
  • The Training centre (Centre d'Instruction) at Quartier Goupil Saint-Germain-en-Laye),

This unit has a section of high level sportsmen, in particular Hubert Perring, dressage champion of France in 2005, and member of the French team for the World Equestrian Games of 2006.

The Guard Cavalry Regiment is twinned with the British Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, the Italian Carabinieri Cavalry Regiment and the Senegalese Red Guard.

Special displays of the cavalry regiment

Exhibition drill squads present four shows and reenactments:

  • le carrousel des lances (the lancer's Carrousel) ;
  • la maison du Roy (the King's household cavalry);
  • la reprise des tandems (the tandem riders);
  • la reprise des douze (demonstration/lesson with 12 riders) ;

Infantry regiments

Republican Guard Infantry in ceremonial uniform.

The Republican Guard has two regiments of infantry:

  • The first infantry regiment is composed of :
  • the second regiment of infantry is composed of :
    • Compagnie de sécurité de l'Hôtel Matignon (Prime minister security company)
    • Compagnie de sécurité des palais nationaux (CSPN) (National palaces - i.e. national assembly and senate - security company)
    • Four compagnies de sécurité et d'honneur (CSH)
    • Auxiliary platoon.

Each of the seven security and honor companies is composed of three regular sections (i.e. platoons) and one peloton d'intervention (intervention platoon). The regular sections perform ceremonial duties and guards. The intervention platoons provide special security in the government buildings and palaces protected by the Guard. They are also tasked with police missions in support of the Gendarmerie in the Paris area (home arrests, escorts etc.). One of the seven intervention platoons is permanently deployed to French Guiana on a rotational basis in support of forces combatting illegal gold mining.

Special displays of the infantry regiments

  • Bayonet Drill Team (Quadrille des baïllonnettes) (1st régiment)
  • The Battery Fanfare band
  • The Napoleonic Brass Fanfare Band wearing uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars
  • Emperor's Grenadiers Company serving as a reenacting unit (2nd régiment)
  • Motorcycle Display Teams

Orchestra of the Republican Guard

Depending on needs, the orchestra performs in three configurations:

  • the Concert Band (80 musicians)
  • the String orchestra (40 musicians), likely to be presented in configurations of 24 or 12 bows, or in string quartets
  • Symphony Orchestra (80 musicians)

It was founded in 1848 by Jean-George Paulus.

Chœur de l'Armée française (Armed Forces Choir)

This men's choir is composed of 46 professional singers. In spite of its name (Choir of the French army), it is part of the Garde républicaine and thus reports to the Gendarmerie and through the Ministers of Defense and Interior (owing to the military character of the service). The choir performs mainly during official ceremonies and commemorations but also during festivals and sport events of national and international importance. Since 2007, it has been led by a woman - Major Aurore Tillac, who serves as choir master and director.

Commanders of the Republican Guard

  • 1813-1815 Colonel Bourgeois
  • 1815-1815 Colonel Colin
  • 1815-1819 Colonel Tassin
  • 1819-1820 Colonel Christophe de la Motte Guerry
  • 1820-1822 Colonel Tassin
  • 1822-1830 Colonel Foucaud of Malembert
  • 1830-1831 Colonel Girard
  • 1831-1839 Colonel Feisthamel
  • 1839-1843 Colonel Carrelet
  • 1843-1848 Colonel Lardenois
  • 1848-1849 Colonel Raymond
  • 1849-1849 Colonel Lanneau
  • 1849-1852 Colonel Gastu
  • 1852-1855 Colonel Tisserand
  • 1856-1858 Colonel Texier of the Pommeraye
  • 1859-1862 Colonel Faye
  • 1862-1868 Colonel Letellier-Blanchard
  • 1868-1870 Colonel Valentine
  • 1870-1873 General Valentin
  • 1873-1875 Colonel Allavene
  • 1875-1875 Colonel Grémelin
  • 1875-1877 Colonel Lambert
  • 1877-1881 Colonel Guillemois
  • 1881-1886 Colonel Azaïs
  • 1886-1889 Colonel Massol
  • 1889-1894 Colonel Mercier
  • 1894-1895 Colonel Risbourg
  • 1895-1897 Colonel De Christen
  • 1897-1899 Colonel Quincy
  • 1899-1902 Colonel Prevot
  • 1902-1903 Colonel Doutrelot
  • 1903-1904 Colonel Weick
  • 1904-1909 Colonel Bouchez
  • 1909-1910 Colonel Vayssière
  • 1910-1914 Colonel Klein
  • 1914-1917 Colonel Brody
  • 1917-1917 Colonel Lanty
  • 1917-1918 Colonel Brione
  • 1918-1922 Colonel Somprou
  • 1922-1924 Colonel Pacault
  • 1924-1926 Colonel Verstraete
  • 1926-1928 Colonel Miquel
  • 1928-1930 Colonel Moinier
  • 1930-1935 Colonel Gibaux
  • 1935-1936 Colonel Maze
  • 1936-1938 Colonel Durieux
  • 1938-1941 Colonel Ruel
  • 1941-1943 Colonel Martin
  • 1943-1944 Colonel Pellegrin
  • 1944-1944 Colonel Charollais
  • 1944-1944 Lt-Colonel FFI Chapoton
  • 1944-1944 Colonel Houllier
  • 1944-1945 Lt-Colonel Heurtel
  • 1945-1948 Colonel Gauduchon
  • 1948-1953 Colonel Nicolini
  • 1953-1957 Colonel Pelabon
  • 1957-1959 Colonel Dorin
  • 1959-1961 Colonel Bouchardon
  • 1961-1964 Colonel Gérard
  • 1964-1969 General Dumont
  • 1969-1970 Colonel Chevrot
  • 1970-1976 General Herlem
  • 1976-1980 General Staff
  • 1980-1984 General de la Rochelambert
  • 1984-1986 General Depardon
  • 1986-1988 General Hedgehog
  • 1988-1991 General Kretz
  • 1991-1995 General Lorant
  • 1995-1998 General Villermain-Lecolier
  • 1998-2000 General Puyou
  • 2000-2002 General Prigent
  • 2002-2004 General Schott
  • 2004-2007 General Poupeau
  • 2007-2010 Major General Moulinié
  • 2010-2014 Schneider Divisional General
  • 2014-Present Major General Striebig


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ fr:Garde républicaine (France)#Histoire
  3. ^ Citizens could even hire Republican Guards for private fashionable evenings but this option was terminated by President Giscard d'Estaing in the mid 1970s.
  4. ^ Quartier is used for barracks housing cavalry and other mounted troops while caserne is used for infantry, engineers and non-mounted troops.
  5. ^ A French escadron is equivalent to a US troop or a British squadron.

External links

  • Official page
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