Vive la cavalerie!
Napoleonic regiment to ride into 21st century
May 17, 1997
Web posted at: 4:43 p.m. EDT (2043 GMT)
PARIS (CNN) -- Amid the rolling hills of northern France, the
low rumble of horses galloping carries over the quiet
landscape. High-pitched yells from cavalry at full charge
pierce the air as if in a bloody battle.
It's an annual event carried out by France's cavalry regiment
of the Republican Guard, which dates back to the Napoleonic
era. (1.3MB/35 sec. QuickTime movie)
And in France, where traditions die hard, the regiment was
salvaged from a government plan to reform its armed forces.
Under the plan, the armed forces are to become an entirely
professional service by early next century, doing away with
The cavalry regiment of the Republican Guard will not be
affected. And they will still perform regular duties of
protecting and escorting top government officials. They will
also continue to wear their 19th century uniforms -- fully
decked with shiny brass buttons, golden epauletes and
helmets adorned with hair from horses' tails.
As Capt. Xavier Guimard put it, "We're the upholders of