Order of Knights of the Noble House of Saint Ouen or Knights of the Star (Ordre des chevaliers de la noble maison de St-Ouen ou chevaliers de l'Etoile). Established by John the Good in 1351, it disappeared in the reign of Charles V.

Order of Saint Michael (Ordre de St-Michel). Established by Louis XI 1.8.1469 in response to the founding of the Burgundian order of the Golden Fleece. Its holders were known as "chevaliers de l'Ordre du Roi." Abolished 1830.

Order of the Holy Spirit (Ordre du Saint-Esprit). Established by Herny III 31.12.1578. Its membership was limited to 100 French gentlemen of noble birth whose paternal ancestors, for at least three generations past, had been. received as knights of the Order of St. Michael Its holders were known as "chevaliers des Ordres du Roi." Abolished 1830.

Order of Saint Lazarus and Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Ordre de Saint-Lazare et Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel). Established by Henry IV in 1608 as the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The French posessions of the Order of St. Lazarus (see International Orders) were united in the same year with those of the new order. It ceased to be given during the Restoration.


Order of Saint Louis (Ordre de Saint-Louis). Established by Louis XIV in 1693. Abolished 1830.

Order of Military Merit (Ordre du mérite militaire). Established by Louis XV 10.3.1759 as the protestant version of the Order of St. Louis. Abolished 1830.


Médaille des pilotes. Created by Louis XIV in 1683.
Médaillon de vétérance. Created by Louis XV 16.4.1771.


Insignia of the Vanquishers of the Bastille (Insigne des vainqueurs de la Bastille). Losange for the French Guard; mural crown for the citizens who took part in the assault on the Bastille; Ribbon with the inscription "Tresor de la Ville sauvé et conservé le 5 décembre 1789" for the men of the Belleville batalion.


LEGION OF HONOUR (Légion d'honneur)

History. Established by Napoleon Bonaparte when First Consul 19.5.1802 in recompense for military and civil service. It is currently France's premier order.

Grand Master. President of the Republic

Classes. Dignities: 1. Grand Decoration (1805) > Grand Cordon (28.3.1816) > Grand Cross (1830); 2. Grand Officers; Grades: 1. Commandants > Commanders (28.3.1816); 2. Officer; 3. Legionnaires > Knights (1808). [ > indicates a change of name]


Order of the Iron Crown (Ordre de la Couronne de fer). Established by Napoleon in 1805 for his Italian subjects. Now an Italian order.

Imperial Order of Reunion (Ordre impérial de la Réunion). Established in 1811 for the territories annexed to the French Empire. Abolished 1815.

Order of the 3 Golden Fleece (Ordre des 3 Toisons d'or). This order was never realized, but was intended by Napoleon to unite the Austrian and Spanish orders with a new French one that would be reserved for the most exceptional heros of his armies.


Déoration du Lys. Created 26.4.1814 for the members of the National Guard.

Brassard de Bordeaux. Accorded 12.3.1814 to the guard of honour of the Duke of Angoulême.

Déoration du siège de Lyon. Created 1814 for the veterans of the siege of Lyon.

Médaillon de Gand. Created 17.5.1815 for the young Parisian law and medical students who followed Louis XVIII to Gand.

Croix d'honneur de la duchesse de Berry. Created 1814 by the Duchess de Berry at Dieppe for the noble ladies who provided her with a mounted escort.

Croix de la Fédelité. Created 1816 for the Paris National Guard.

Médaille de l'Instruction primaire. Created 15.6.1818 for primary school teachers.


Croix de Juillet. Created 13.12.1830 for the rioters of the "Trois Glorieuses.".

Médaille de Juillet. Given to the rioters who did not receive the cross.


Royal Order of Cambodia (Ordre royal du Cambodge). Established by King Noroden 8.2.1864. Sanctioned as a colonial order 12.1.1897. 5 classes.

Order of the Dragon of Annam (Ordre du Dragon d'Annam). Established 14.3.1886. Sanctioned as a colonial order 10.5.1896. 5 classes.

Order of Nichan el Anouar (Ordre du Nichan el Anour). Founded by the Sultan of Tadjoura (Djibouti) 14.10.1887. Sanctioned as a colonial order 10.5.1896. 5 classes.

Order of the Black Star (Ordre de l'Etoile noire). Founded by King Toffa of Porto- Novo (Benin) 30.8.1892. Sanctioned as a colonial order 10.5.1896. 5 classes.

Order of the Star of Anjouan (Ordre de l'Etoile d'Anjouan). Founded by Said Mohammed, Sultan of Anjouan (Comores) 30.8.1892. Sanctioned as a colonial order 1.5.1897. 5 classes.

Order of Nichan Iftikhar (Ordre de Nichan Iftikhar). Founded by the Bey Mustafa of Tunisia 20.5.1835.

Order of Ouissam Alaouite (Ordre d'Ouissam Alaouite). Established by a dahir of Sultan Moulay Youssef and of General Lyautey 15.5.1913. It replaced the the Order of Ouissam Hafidien.


Legion of Honour (see Consulate)

Order of Liberation (Ordre de la Libération). Institued by an order of General de Gaulle, its one and only Grand Master, 16.11.1940, to recompense those who distinguished themselves in the liberation of France and her Empire. No longer accorded after 23.1.1946 [except to Winston Churchill 18.6.1958, and to King George VI (posthumously) 4.4.1960]. There were 1 059 companions, of which 296 were living in 1991.

Military Medal (Médaille militaire). Instituted by decree of 22.1.1852, repealed and replaced by decree of 29.11.1962, to recompense military personnel and non-combattants.

National Order of Merit (Ordre national du Mérite). Instituted by decree of 3.12.1963, with the President of the Republic as Grand Master. In 1991 there were 189 165 members in 4 classes: Grand Cross, Grand Officers, Commanders, and Officers.

Order of the Academic Palms (Ordre des Palmes académiques). Called the violet Legion. Established 4.10.1955 and consisting of a palm and olive branch in violet enamel forming an elongated crown. 3 classes: Commanders, Officers, and Knights, with nominations and promotions on January 1 and July 14.

Order of Agricultural Merit (Ordre du Mérite agricole). Established 7.7.1883 by Jules Méline, Minister of Agriculture to recompense those who making significant contributions to the development and progress of agriculture. 3 classes: Commanders, Officers, and Knights.

Order of Maritime Merit (Ordre du Mérite maritime). Established 9.2.1930. 3 classes: C ommanders, Officers, and Knights.

Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et Lettres). Instituted by decree of 2.5.1957 and modified by those of 29.9.1975 and 25.3.1987. Accorded to those who have distinguished themselves by their artistic or literary creations, or who have been instrumental in spreading the arts and letters in France and around the world. 3 classes: Commanders, Officers, and Knights.


Croix de la Valeur militaire
Médaille de la Résistence française
Mérite militaire
Médaille des Services militaires volontaires
Médaille de la Défense nationale
Médaille de la Gendarmerie nationale
Croix du Combattant volontaire 1914-1918
Croix du Combattant volontaire 1939-1945
Médaille des Evadédés
Croix du Combattant
Croix du Combattant volontaire de la Résistance
Médaille de la Déportation et de l'Internement (politique)
Médaille de la Déportation et de l'Internement pour faits de résistance
Médaille des Prisonniers civils déportés et Otages de la guerre 1914-1918
Médaille du Patriote résistant à l'occupation des départments du Rhin et de la Moselle incarcéré en camps spéciaux
Médaille dela France libérée
Médaille de la Fédelité française
Insigne du Réfractaire
Médailles pour actes de courage et de dévoument
Médaille des Epidémies
Médaille d'honneur des Affaires étrangères
Médaille d'honneur des marins du Commerce et de la Pêche
Médailles d'honneur des personnels civils du ministère de la Défense
Médaille de la Famille française
Médaille de l'Aéronautique
Numerous other medals of honour


Ordres de mérite ministériels
Médaille de la Reconnaissance française
Croix de guerre 1914-1918, des Territoires d'opérations extérieures (TOE)
Francisque gallique
Ordre national du Travail
Médaille du Mérite de l'Afrique noire française
Médaille commémorative du Levant
Insignes souvenirs


Orders of Chivalry in France

See this site for more detailed histories of the various French orders.