1st Foreign Regiment

1er RE insignia1er Régiment Étranger, 1er RE. The oldest regiment and the headquarters of the French Foreign Legion. The 1st Foreign Regiment has been based in the Quartier Viénot, Aubagne (Southern France, close to Marseille) since it moved there from Sidi Bel Abbès, Algeria, in 1962. Since the late 19th century, it has been nicknamed Maison mère de la Légion (Legion’s HQ, or Legion’s Motherhouse).

The regiment was created in Algeria in April 1841. It took part in the pacification of the country, as well as many other campaigns: in the Crimean War (1854-55), in the Second Italian War of Independence (1859), in the Sino–French War (1884-85), in Madagascar (1895-1905), in Morocco (1907-1934), in both World Wars, in the First Indochina War (1946-54) and the Algerian War (1954-62).

Today, the 1st Foreign Regiment is a non-combat unit ensuring the administration of the Foreign Legion. Within the regiment, there is a Preselection and Selection center. New candidates arriving from recruiting centers, located across France, pass all crucial tests and interviews (required for becoming a legionnaire) here in Aubagne, within the 1er RE.

1st Foreign Regiment - 1er Régiment étranger promotion


History of the 1st Foreign Regiment

See the history of the Legion’s Motherhouse during the 1841-2021 period, including 80+ pictures:
History of the 1st Foreign Regiment

1st Foreign Regiment - History - 1er RE - 1 RE - 1st RE


Current structure of the 1st Foreign Regiment

The regiment is divided (in 2023) into 3 companies and consists of some 500 personnel.

The 1st Foreign Regiment is a non-comabt unit. It is tasked with three main missions. First, it provides general administrative support for all units of the Foreign Legion. Second, it assures the process of final selection of candidates volunteering to serve in the Legion. Third, it provides administrative support for the Foreign Legion Command (COMLE), to which the regiment is subordinated. The personnel of the 1er RE could also serve during interior operations (simple infantrymen) or be deployed to overseas missions (specialists).

In 2023, the 1er RE is composed of:

  • HQ & Regimental Service Company (Compagnie de Commandement et des Services Régimentaires, CCSR)
  • Foreign Legion Personnel Administrative Company (Compagnie Administrative du Personnel de la Légion Étrangère, CAPLE)
    • CAPLE company manages all recruits arriving in Aubagne
    • the company also manages all legionnaires passing through Aubagne (e.g. hospitalized legionnaires, those who change regiments or legionnaires finishing their contract)
    • it operates Selection & Incorporation Center (Centre de Sélection et d’Incorporation, CSI), the institution responsible for testing and selection of candidates
  • Foreign Legion Services Company (Compagnie des Services de la Légion Étrangère, CSLE)
    • CSLE company conducts administration of the Foreign Legion Command (COMLE)
    • three departments of the COMLE run within the CSLE
    • several significant institutions of the Legion are attached to the company:
      • Foreign Legion Music Band (Musique de la Légion étrangère, MLE)
      • Foreign Legion Convalescent Leave & Recreation Malmousque Center (Centre des Convalescents et des Permissionnaires de la Légion Étrangère de la Malmousque, CCPLEM), based in Marseille
      • Foreign Legion Reception & Accommodation Center (Centre d’Hébergement et d’Accueil de la Légion Étrangère, CHALE), based at La Ciotat
      • Foreign Legion Disabled Veterans Institution (Institution des Invalides de la Légion Étrangère, IILE), based at Puyloubier
      • Foreign Legion Museum (Musée de la Légion Étrangère) + Documents Center (Centre de Documentation) + SAMLE (Foreign Legion Museum Friends Society)
      • Képi Blanc Magazine (Le Magazine Képi blanc)
      • ATHLEG (L’ATHLEG), a squad of long-distance runners (5-6 men) established to publicize the Legion during sports events

    There exists an institution connected with the 1er RE, although administratively independent of the Foreign Legion. The Home of Legionnaire (La Maison du Légionnaire), based at Auriol, close to Aubagne. The institution, a retirement home with some 70 elderly former legionnaires, is supported by a COMLE department, which is run within the CSLE, 1er RE.


    NICKNAME: Maison Mère (Motherhouse, HQ)
    ACTIVATION: 1841
    MOTTO: Honneur et Fidélité (Honor and Fidelity)
    REGIM. MARCH: Nous sommes tous des volontaires
    OFFIC. FB PAGE: 1er Régiment Étranger
    FFL INFO POSTS: 1er RE’s category


    Location of the 1st Foreign Regiment



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