Emmanuel Macron might be trying to turn France into a contemporary tech powerhouse, but that doesn’t mean his country doesn’t hold onto some of the old pomp and circumstance.
The Legion d’Honneur, created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the French government. It can be used to cement diplomatic relations with another country, reward service to the French people, or celebrate artistic and athletic triumphs. Foreign recipients of the Legion d’Honneur include people as varied as Eleanor Roosevelt and Quincy Jones, and the award is divided equally between genders, as well as between military and civilian recipients. And though the nomination process is complicated and bureaucratic, if you are a French citizen and would like to nominate someone for the award, all you need is a petition signed by at least 50 people to get things going.
The most recent person to be awarded the honor was the American Marcus “Stub” Bartusek, for his military service in France during World War II. But who knows will be next on the list?