MAISON D'ÉDUCATION DE LA LÉGION D'HONNEUR
In the shadow of the basilica of Saint-Denis, north of Paris, next to the French kings who are buried here, the Maison d'éducation de la Légion d'honneur has occupied for more than two centuries the sumptuous abbey and the 18 hectares park adjoining the famous gothic necropolis.
The high-school students, all girls, wear the uniform and can attend a catholic mass every day. So many believe it is a private military or religious institution. It is in fact a public high school under the direct responsibility of the Grande Chancellerie of the Legion d'honneur (and therefore of the President of the Republic who is the Grand Master of the Chancellerie), and on the budget of the Prime Minister. A budget out of proportion with other public institutions. Here, the annual cost of a student is over 19,000 euros, against a national average of 10,000 euros. All teachers are contracted by the National Education Ministry, like in any other public school in France, but the head of school enjoys a rare privilege: he can choose his teachers. To study here, you must be the daughter, the granddaughter, or the great granddaughter of an ancstor decorated with the Legion d'Honneur, the medal of merit, or, since 2005, the military medal. A privilege granted in the name of the merit of an ancestor, in contradiction with the republican equality, which provokes from time to time the anger of the neighboring inhabitants of the very poor department of Saint-Denis.