The Legion of Honor is the highest honor that France bestows on its most deserving military and civil citizens. Napoleon established it in 1802 to recognize merit versus nobility. The Chevalier (Knight) is the highest level of merit given to those with 20 years of worthy service. The Legion of Honor Museum’s elaborate rooms and salons in the Hôtel de Salm are as much of a reason to visit the museum as is learning about the history of France’s honors, medals, decorations, and chivalric orders.
The Legion of Honor Museum discusses and demonstrates several of the state’s most prestigious medals and the criteria on which they are awarded.
The Legion of Honor Museum discusses and demonstrates several of the state’s most prestigious medals and the criteria on which they are awarded. The self-guided walk went through rooms that ornately uniformed officers staffed to explain or address questions. It took us through the council chambers where 16 members assessed and select medal recipients.
Then onto the elaborate Bureau of the Grand Chancellor and his wife’s bed chamber.
It has several only slightly less elaborate salons, most with beautifully maintained ceiling and wall murals, hand-carved furniture, paintings, and sculptures.
Then into the even more elaborate Grand Room where formal ceremonies are held, dining room, and rotunda. And what tour would be complete without cases of medals and memorabilia?
As with many Paris Museums, the building is as much of a reason to visit as are its exhibitions.