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SECRETS AND SLID OF AN ELITE UNIT : THE REPUBLICAN GUARD

SECRETS AND SLID OF AN ELITE UNIT : THE REPUBLICAN GUARD | M6 | Zone Interdite

They are mounted, motorcycle riders, foot soldiers or musicians. They belong to the prestigious Garde Républicaine, created by Napoleon III in 1848. In their helmets with flowing manes and their lanyards, these soldiers from another century are the subject of universal admiration during official ceremonies such as 14 July and visits from heads of state. They can also be seen on foot outside National Buildings stationed in their little sentry box. However, these images hide a totally different reality, especially since the tragic attacks of November 13 2015. The men and women who make up the Garde Républicaine have many other duties, ones less well known to the public.At age 24, Anaïs has just enlisted in the cavalry regiment, the last mounted unit in the French army. In the Célestins quarter, a patch of countryside tucked away in the heart of Paris, the young recruit is training all year to realize her little girl’s dream: to parade on 14 July. She will also experience her first ceremonial duty at the Elysée during the State visit of the King and Queen of the Netherlands.Alongside her is Daniel, her apprenticeship master. He will reveal some of the unit’s most astonishing historical secrets, which still display the art of war. He will introduce us to the Garde’s craftsmen: helmet makers, burnishers, saddlers… the last guardians of French heritage, they carry on an expertise dating back several centuries. As 14 July approaches, their team is under particular pressure.Pierre is head of one of the Garde’s 7 front-line platoons. Built like a rugby player with a smile from ear to ear, he is part of the Garde’s highly operational unit, whose main missions are the protection and surveillance of national buildings and forceful arrests on behalf of the Gendarmerie brigades in the Paris region. This year, one event will turn his life as a soldier upside down.Guillaume is one of the virtuosos” of the Garde Républicaine’s motorcycle squad, which specializes in high-risk escorts, from the highest Heads of State, to the most dangerous of criminals. For this reason they are selected from the finest members of the Gendarmerie.This year, between missions, Guillaume is organizing the selection of new recruits. We witnessed, on the inside, the extremely arduous recruiting tests where 80% of the candidates are failed.”