The maisons d'éducation de la Légion d'honneur were the French secondary schools set up by Napoleon and originally meant for the education of girls whose father, grandfather or great-grandfather had been awarded the Légion d'honneur. Access is still by hereditary right. It is impossible not to make a link between the Maisons d'éducation de la Légion d'honneur and the "Maison royale de Saint-Louis" founded by Madame de Maintenon in Saint-Cyr (now Saint-Cyr-l'École) and built by Jules Hardouin Mansart, which was used later by Napoleon as a school for officers of the French army. Napoleon knew the Maison royale de Saint-Louis, because his sister Élisa Bonaparte studied there and he took her out of the school in 1792. There are many similarities between the two schools: being linked to the Légion d'honneur which inherits from the "Ordre de Saint Louis", being designed for daughters of poor officers or noblemen, being divided in classes identified by a color ribbon, etc. However, there are also differences, like the fact that the Maisons d'éducation, or at least some of them, were ruled by nuns, and it is known that Napoleon didn't want the school to look like the Maison royale, of which he had a bad opinion : More information...

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