Grands corps de l'État

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The grands corps de l'État (Grand Corps of the [French] State) are a feature of the French state as envisaged in the reforms of Jean-Baptiste Colbert.[1] Some of these grands corps date back to the reign of Louis XV, in the 18th century, but most originated or were given their modern form during the reign of Napoleon.[2]

The exact list of grands corps de l'État is debatable, mainly because there is disagreement about whether a particular corps is grand enough to be counted. However, Who's Who in France gives the following list:[3] the ingénieurs des mines, the ingénieurs des ponts, the administrateurs de l'INSEE, the ingénieurs de l'armement, the conseillers d'État, the Cour des comptes and the inspecteurs des finances.

In France, the members of these grand corps have great importance in the government administration, since many executive positions are held by them; also many CEOs of great French companies come straight out of these Grand Corps.

Administrative "grands corps" (staffed from the École nationale d'administration)[edit]

The administrative grands corps mainly recruit graduates of the École nationale d'administration (ENA), they are more closely connected with politics than the technical grands corps (listed below) are. Georges Pompidou was member of the Conseil d'État, François Hollande and Jacques Chirac were both members of the Cour des comptes, and Emmanuel Macron, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and Michel Rocard were both members of the Inspection des finances.

Technical "grands corps" (staffed from the École polytechnique and ENS)[edit]

The technical grands corps mainly recruit (more than 2/3 by decree) from among graduates of the École polytechnique, their ranks are also open to alumni of the Écoles normales supérieures, or other schools such as École des Ponts and École des Mines.

Three other technical "grands corps" no longer function:

Criticism of the "grands corps"[edit]

The system of grands corps has been criticised from within its own ranks as well as from outside.[4] In January 2009 a report on the future of the technical grands corps was sent to the Prime Minister.[5]

See also[edit]


External links (English)[edit]

External links (French)[edit]