Life in the French Foreign Legion: How to join and what to expect when you get there

How to become member of the French Foreign Legion
How to become member of the French Foreign Legion? (Photo: XY)

Life in the French Foreign Legion has always made for a good yarn, but what’s fact and what’s fiction has been hard to differentiate over the years – but it’s that very mystique that has served as the Legion’s best recruiter. Those looking for relevant first-hand information on what to expect, should they decide the French Foreign Legion’s basic no-frills military life is for them, will be frustrated and could end up making a costly, ill-informed decision.


Joining the French Foreign Legion was always a quest. To join the French Foreign Legion (FFL) and to fulfill their enlistment standards, the first thing to do is to show up at one of the recruiting centers across France. To become a member of this elite unit, and to earn the right to wear kepi blanc and to be called legionnaire you need to have a strong motive. Besides all things, you need a strong will to endure what awaits you when you come there.

Life in the French Foreign Legion: How to join and what to expect when you get there
Life in the French Foreign Legion: French Legionnaires marching on the French Foreign Legion day (Photo: Pinterest)

All the information you need to successfully join the French Foreign Legion is available in this article. First of all, it is important to know that you only log on to French territory. After you find the FFL recruitment center, you need to approach the soldier guarding the base and tell him why you are there. He will escort you to the recruitment office.

Immediately upon arrival, you will be provided with suitable clothing, sleep, and everything you need to test and verify whether you are the general and special conditions for access to the French Foreign Legion training. It is the first step to become a legionnaire. In further days, you need to learn and to obey the French Foreign Legion code of honor. The next step if you want to join the French Foreign Legion is preselection.


The pre-selection is usually done in the recruiting offices across France while the main part of the selection process is carried out in the town of Aubagne near Marseille. That is the place where potential candidates for the French Foreign Legion undergo various psychological and physical tests, medical testing, and sports tests (Luc-Leger “navette”). Life in the French Foreign Legion is about to begin.

The French Foreign legion - PRESELECTION
Life in the French Foreign Legion will be full of learning lessons and training (Photo: Pinterest/FFL)

If you are fit enough to complete all tests and the French Foreign Legion accepts your nomination, the first contract you will sign will be on the period for at least five years, while each subsequent conclusion of your choice for a period of six months to five years.

There is also an option for a contract of six months during training (for those under 18 years, the consent of both parents and the form can be found at the French embassy in Gendarmeries or outside France). That doesn’t mean that you will join the French Foreign Legion as a full-time legionnaire. The next step on your way is basic training.

GCP of the 2ème REP is the elite unit of the French Foreign Legion
GCP of the 2ème REP is the elite unit of the French Foreign Legion (Photo: French Foreign Legion)

Basic requirements

Some of the basic requirements in addition to those listed above and include the following three:

  • You must have a valid ID (identification documents) – Passport or National Identity card and all other documents you might need
  • regardless of your marital status (single, married, divorced …) will be logged as a single
  • must be physically and mentally able to serve at various locations at all times












The French Foreign Legion Information Center1 day
Opening the files on the application
Preselection1-3 days
The Foreign Legion recruiting center (Paris Aubagne)
Confirmation of motivationBasic medical examinationFinalizing the paper application
The signing of the contract (5 years)
Selection1 to 10 days
The center for the recruitment and selection of the French Foreign Legion in Aubagne, Marseille
Psychometrical testing: logical tests, no special knowledge needed
Medical ExaminationSports TestsMotivational and security interviews
Personality test (related to psycho tests)
Signature and download the contract of service (5 years).7 days

Basic training

PHASEBasic trainingDuration









Introductory training. Introduction to military life. Outdoor and field activities. Brotherhood. In the tradition of the Foreign Legion.4 weeks
March “Képi Blanc” and promotions.1 week
Technical and practical training (field training)3 weeks
Mountaineering training (Chalet at Formiguière in the French Pyrenees)1 week
Technical and practical training (field training)2 weeks
And obtaining elemental tests: technical certificate (CTE)1 week
March, which marks the end of basic training1 week
School management light trucks1 week
Return to Aubagne before scheduling the regiment1 week
Reporting to one of the 11 regiments

If you are the man who certain for joining the French Foreign Legion, we wish you good luck and a great time and to enjoy life in the French Foreign Legion. It will change your attitude and your life, for sure. The intention behind this article was to give potential recruits something he never had, a solid basis from which to make an informed decision.

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