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Database: École Militaire

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Once the domain of partridges, rabbits and small game, it was in this former warren in Grenelle that Louis XV sought to build a military academy comparable with that founded by his great-grandfather, Louis XIV. The idea was to house and educate five hundred boys from poor, preferably war-stricken families, and to make elite officers of them. It was an undertaking primarily overseen and sponsored by the Marquise de Pompadour. As he wrote to her: "I have approved the project since you absolutely want it, my beloved." Eight years later, the first classes were held. One of the establishment's most famous pupils was the young Napolione Buonaparte, "Elève du Roi" (pupil of the king). Aged only 15, he graduated as a second lieutenant after a mere twelve months' study.

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