1. Chapter – I am joining the French Foreign Legion

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french foreign legion beret

Joining the French Foreign Legion… I got this idea when I was 18 years old. The French Foreign Legion is one of the most notorious units of the French Army. Notorious. Well, that’s what I thought back then.

Before finishing the high school I’d already have my plane tickets to Paris and a plan in my head. During the years many people asked me why I joined the Legion.

Even 5 years later, at the end of my first contract I still couldn’t give a clear answer. Until my 18th birthday, I wanted to become a history teacher at a university…

During my studies I must read some stuffs about the armies of the world.
That was in 2011 the first time when I heard about the French Foreign Legion. It wasn’t even really interesting until I saw a film of 3°REI (3° Foreign Infantry Regiment, based in French Guyana).

That was the first time I thought that I want to become as badass as the guys in the film.

Joining the French Foreign Legion?

Naturally, it wasn’t too serious at the beginning.

But later, things changed and I got more interested in becoming a soldier. Not a legionnaire, a soldier in my country. I asked my uncle – a police officer – how it goes in the army, because I want to try myself as a soldier. I wasn’t impassioned by the things he said. And I asked him, what about the Legion? That was something else.

He already worked with them in Ex-Yugoslavia and told me, if you want to do something, do it well. This phrase made me more interested in joining the famous French Foreign Legion.

It wasn’t him who convinced me. I always said, it was my destiny who really decided to make the biggest step of my life. Naturally, my lovely Grandmother wanted to kick my destiny (and my uncle) in the arse when I told her what I wanted to do.

I arrived in the capital of France

for the first time in my life. I only had a sheet of paper in my hand with the needed instructions to reach my destination. The Fort de Nogent, the Parisian base of the French Foreign Legion.

I got quickly lost in the metro, and had no any idea where am I. I have already spent at least 3 hours looking for the fortress and became pretty stressful. Finally (and blissfully) I got a sight of a small part of an old building behind the trees.

Fortunately, before going to France I watched many videos of the Legion and I was able to recognize the fortress. The sun was already going down and I have already prepared myself to sleep outside because I’ve heard if somebody arrives too late, they don’t let him in.

As arrived, I told the guardian all the French words I knew

Je veux m’enganger à la Légion Etrangère. – I want to join the French Foreign Legion.

I had a chance and they left me in and asked me to show them if I’m able to do 6 pull ups at least. They took away all of my papers, passport, ID card and bank card. I got a sport uniform – a jogging and a pull-over – and a bed.

The next day I needed to fill out some papers with different questions.

Basic stuffs like

  • do you have siblings
  • did somebody ever have cancer in your family
  • what did you study
  • what was your profession

But also some questions like

  • have you ever wanted to commit suicide
  • did you ever commit homicide
  • are you gay etc../

During the day other candidates arrived. Like a Russian guy with a nice suit, briefcase and with every belongings of a real businessman. Probably he didn’t know that nobody will care about. In the French Foreign Legion everyone is equal even wether you have money or not.

The guy had travelled 12 hours that day and was too tired (or weak) to do the minimum pull-ups (4). I think it wasn’t the first time that the caporal-chef saw someone like him. So he accompanied him to the gates and probably he turned back with the first plane to Russia.
The next day a doctor examined us to see if all everythin is okay. However, I was pretty surprised when he asked me to pull my underwear down and checked my balls…

The day when I signed my pre-contract 

From this day you are already earning some money and get it if you don’t get in. So even those who didn’t take cash to return in their country have some money to buy a plane ticket if necessary.

I stood in line with the people who passed the pre-selection and talked with an American. Suddenly, somebody started to laugh in the room where we signed the contract. Just a bit later we found out what happened. The guy from an Africain country before us in the line should have signed his paper, but just drew a cross on it and went out of the room.

Right after the caporal-chef called him back and asked him to write a simple phrase down like “today is Friday”. He was an illiterate so he only drew another cross and had to leave Fort-de-Nogent within a few minutes. Naturally, his “signed” contract finished in the rubbish.

The next week, those who passed their first tests and interviews went down to Aubagne (South France) by TGV to continue the pre-selection to join the French Foreign Legion.

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If you wan to read more about joining, here is a complete article about the topic. Also consider to download the Legion Training app, that we made to get better prepared for the French Foreign Legion.

Get it on Google Play

35 Comments

  1. I’ve been following you on Instagram and I read your stories as well and I must say I’ve never regretted it.
    I have questions. Like
    How tough is the training in the legion? And besides, how strong do you have to be to join the legion ( i mean on first arrival do you need to be prepared for rigorous training during pre-selection)

    • Hey Joseph,
      I’m happy that you liked my blog.
      The basic training is difficult for someone who comes to the FFL without any military or life experience. For me it was pretty difficult, because I was very young and didn’t know anything about the world. About physical fitness, I always advise future candidates to be sure that you are able to do at least level 8 on Luc Leger and 10 pull-ups. If you are okay with these things, the rest comes alone.

    • Hello sir thank you for your information your blog is really good.
      Dear sir i want to join ffl after basic training can we choose a regiement like engineering and medical department in ffl

    • Hey, you can choose your regiment at the end of the basic training if you have good results. You can also become a medic if you are volunteering to choose this specialty and the commandment accept your demand.

  2. Helow Sir hope you are doing Alright with everything that’s going on with the pandemic…My Name’s are Michael Daniel I’m 21years of Age I’m a kenyan citizen who Aspires To Join The Foreign Legion But currently Idont have a passport yet or visa due to covid 19 but I’m Trying to Acquire one I’ve completed Highschool level and Ican work under harsh and Difficult Environments The Foreign Legion is More than just a Dream for Me …Thank you God bless

    • Hi bro am a kenyan too, my brother is a legionaire look for me i share more about it

    • Hi Michael and Ignatius,am Kenyan too.. planning to go to France late this year… Let’s share ideas men…0790990276

    • Hii am from kenya aged 27 looking forward to join the french legion.i have 7 yrs military experience with the kenya defence force.any kenyan who wish to join the legion we team up together,kindly contact me via mail fardhosamohammad67@gmail.com.
      Thankyou

  3. Hello brother,my name is saidi l, am from Tanzania I want to know it takes how long or days to get a FFL contract after finishing the test and if don’t know to French or English there another Language uses for interview?

    • They’ll take them away and put in a box. You’ll get everything back if you don’t get in or 4 months later at the end of the basic training.

    • No, it’s not necessary. However it’s possible that they’ll cut your bank card the moment you get in. That’s what happened to a guy in my old platoon.

  4. Hi Sir thanks for information, I am from India, I want to join FFL, so my query is can we go directly to aubgane preselection center, what is physical test activity in preselection, please provide details, and I don’t know swimming so in preselection it mandatory..

    • Hey man I’m Ghanaian too, I’ll be joining next month. Did you already go or you’re yet to go?

  5. […] My story had begun in 2012, when I decided to make a little break between high school and university. I wanted to become a history and foreign language teacher. However, there was one thing I didn’t want to do. Spending my whole life in a school. So, once I finished high school and passed all of my exams, I took my backpack, bought a plane ticket, flew to Paris and joined the French Foreign Legion. That’s how my story begins. […]

  6. Hello, sir thanks for your information i want to join ffl.and i am from india sikkim. My age is 21 yers old when well be recruitment held

  7. Hello, sir thanks for your information i want to join ffl.and i am from india sikkim. My age is 21 yers old when well be recruitment held in 2021 …

  8. Hello Mr Aron , I want to join the ffl, but my question is will there be a problem if I come with my suitcase along because I am living in Europe but I have make up my mind to join the France ffl. And I believe I am physically fit and I have my country passport with me ,I never have no interpol problem at all ,

  9. Hi Aron,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I wonder at what stage did they give you new identity. I watched some videos and it seems we have to use our identity at first few stages. Is there any formula to create new name or we can suggest? How did you travel for overseas deployment? Did they give you passport with new identity?

    I also noticed that they will strip you and provide you with new clothing including underwear! I’m also wondering if you fail and change back to own civi, do they have to return the issued clothing? Thanks!

    • Hey Kevin,

      To be honest, I can’t tell you when exactly you obtain your pseudo because I’ve never get one. The FFL stopped giving new identity around 2011-2012 for those who didn’t ask. This was my case, so I signed my contract under my real name, but nowadays, you won’t have any official document with your real name even if you don’t want to have a pseudo. You are supposed to get back your real identity around the end of the first year of service and go on operation with an official military passport.

      If you fail, you need to give back your sport cloths, but I have no idea what will happen with your underwear.

  10. Hi Aron,

    Thank you for the prompt response! Is the sport cloth one size fits all? I’m quite a small built. So I’m afraid it will be a disadvantage if the size don’t fit.

    Actually what’s the difference between pre-contract and the actual contract?

    Is there no name mentioned in official documents? Is there any other identification?

    For the military passport, is it under France but mention our original nationality?

    Thank you so much for your articles and answer. I aspire to join and it seems daunting but I try to motivate myself 🙂

    It seems we can’t enter to just ask around and decide later. Once we step in, we have to surrender ourselves for the legion.

    • Hey,

      you’ll get sport cloths that fit you the most, however, you shouldn’t forget to take a good pair of running shoes for the selection.
      The pre-contract is only made for the periode of the selection, but since I didn’t speak a word in French at the beggining, I have no idea what stands on it.
      You’ll have a military ID with your fake name that you can’t use for anything basically forcing you to regularize your administratif situation.

      Don’t forget to download our app for your prep, it helps a lot especially for the IQ test and Luc Leger.

  11. Hi Aron,

    Did you consider going straight to Aubagne instead of Paris? What are the pros and cons going to Paris vs Aubagne?

    I watched some videos and only saw them giving one set of clothing when they come and when going Blue. Is it only one? I hope they give a few lol. Did you have to return your sport uniform upon leaving Fort de Nogent?

    • Thanks Aron! That article helps and answered most of my Qs, but I’m still wondering how many sets of clothing do they give during paradise and blue? Do they allow us to change to civilian clothes we bring during break? I couldn’t find this info elsewhere. Wearing one sets of clothing for weeks don’t sound hygienic:)

      Any tips to train for people who don’t have pull up bar at home? Thank you so much!

    • Hey Michael,

      If I remember well, you have 2 t-shirt, 4-5 underwear, a pants (or short in summertime) and a sweater in winter. You won’t wear these cloths for longtime though. I didn’t have any problem with hygiene during the selection, so I think it’s gonna be okay for everyone.

      In the Legion Training app I put some useful exercises that you can do even if you don’t have a Pull-up bar at home.

    • Hi Aron,

      Thanks for the info so far! So it seems pre-Blue and Blue wont take weeks? Either you go rouge soon enough or you get eliminated? I read it could take up to 4 weeks from knocking the door to the basic training 😅

      I would love to download the app. Unfortunately, it’s not available on AppStore.

    • Hey,

      It took me 28 days from the day I knocked on the door until I went to Castel.

      The Legion Training app is going to be available very soon on iOs. Follow my instagram page and you’ll know as soon as we finished the job. Thanks for your messages !

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