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Bastille Day: How to join the French Foreign Legion

July 14, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
(Franck Prevel/Getty Images )

Nothing like Bastille Day to get you thinking about the glamorous French Foreign Legion, which was formed in 1831.

"Whatever your origins, nationality or religion might be, whatever qualifications you may or may not have, whatever your social or professional status might be, whether you are married or single, the French Foreign Legion offers you a chance to start a new life ..." So says the legion's website, which includes a pretty impressive code of honor too.

If you want to join, expect starting wages to be about $1,466 a month plus room and board. The legion's headquarters are in Aubagne, which is also the site of the French Foreign Legion Museum.

I'm rather fascinated by the uniforms (you can snag a "kepi," or dress hat, on Ebay for under $50). Not everyone gets to dress like the "Pioneers" of the 1st Regiment from Aubagne, shown above. BonjourParis.com explains that the Pioneers sport beards and leather aprons and carry axes instead of guns to mark their original role as trail blazers for the group.

Cool, except for two things: They don't take women (my dreams are dashed) or anyone older than 40 (double dashed).

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