The three senior infantry regiments of the French Army, raised in 1569, were those of the Vieux Corps (Old Corps): Picardie, Piémont and Champagne. During the late 16th and early 17th centuries, they were gradually augmented by the regiments of the so-called Petits Vieux to form the standing army of the Kingdom of France. In time of war, these permanent formations provided cadres for new additional regiments.

Aside from the foreign (mostly German, Irish, Swiss) corps, infantry regiments of the French Army at the time of the War of the Spanish Succession had colors of a fairly standard pattern. For the majority of regiments, the Colonel's Color was white with a white cross, while their drapeaux d'ordonnance were quartered by a white cross, with different colors and patterns in the quarters to distinguish each regiment. This system did not change in any substantial way between the beginning of the eighteenth century and the period of the French Revolution, though the number of drapeaux d'ordonnance per regiment fluctuated over time.

All "French" regiments of the army had  royal, princely or territorial titles, or took the name of their colonel. The more senior regiments, such as Piémont and Champagne, generally had the simplest drapeaux d'ordonnance, while those with royal titles usually had fleurs-de-lis on the arms of the cross. The drapeaux d'ordonnance of regiments named for their colonels tended to employ the colors of his coat of arms. French infantry colors were made of silk and measured about 1.8 meters square. One Colonel's Color and, at various times, between two and fourteen drapeaux d'ordonnance were authorized for each regiment.

The regiments of the Vieux Corps and the Petits Vieux remained on the establishment up to 1791, when the Army was reorganized by the Revolutionary government and all the existing regiments received numbers in place of their traditional names. Others were raised and disbanded according to need, and sometimes a newly raised regiment would receive drapeaux of the same design as a previous regiment. Most of the regiments whose colors are depicted on this page were in existence in 1700 at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession. They are arranged according to regimental seniority as set forth in the Army List of 1705.

Note on the Illustrations: For each regiment, the Colonel's Color is shown on the left and the drapeau d'ordonnance is shown on the right. Dates indicate the regiment's period of service under the name given. (In many cases, the older regiments had  originally been raised under different names than the ones they bore at the beginning of the eighteenth century.) The name changes given in the footnotes did not usually result in a change of drapeaux. However, some regiments were both renamed and provided with different colors long after the War of the Spanish Succession, e.g. Régiment de Picardie, renamed Régiment Colonel-Général in 1780.

Images Added March 2012

Regiments Boufflers & Richenbourg


Régiment de Picardie (1585-1780)


Régiment de Champagne (1585-1791)


Régiment de Piémont (1585-1791)


Régiment de Navarre (1594-1791


Régiment de Normandie (1617-1791)


Régiment de Leuville (1700-18)1


Régiment de Bourbonnais (1673-1791)


Régiment d'Auvergne (1635-1791)


Régiment de Tallard (1708-32)


Régiment de Nettancourt (1695-1704)2


Régiment d'Artois (1673-1791)


Régiment de Poitou (1682-1791)


Régiment de Lyonnois (1635-1791)


Régiment de Touraine (1673-1791)


Régiment d'Anjou (1670-1753)


Régiment du Maine (1635-1736)3


Régiment de Grancey (1693-1707)4


Régiment de La Reine (1661-1791)


Régiment de La Marine (1636-1791)


Régiment Royal-Vaisseaux (1669-1791)


Régiment d'Orléans (1660-1791)


Régiment Royal (1663-1791)


Régiment de Condé (1659-1791)


Régiment du Roi (1663-1791)


Régiment de Bourbon (1686-1791)


Régiment de Bourgogne (1668-1791)


Régiment Royal-La Marine (1669-1791)


Régiment de Lorraine (1684-1762)


Régiment de Provence (1684-1791)


Régiment de Flandre (1684-1762)


Régiment de Berry (1684-1762)


Régiment de Bigorre (1684-1762)


Régiment de Brie (1684-1762)


Régiment de Boufflers (1706-10)


Régiment de Richenbourg (1702-04)


11718-38: Régiment de Richelieu  •  2 1704-08: Régiment de Mailly; 1708-12: Régiment de Bueil

3 1736-75: Régiment d'Eu  •  4 1707-30: Régiment de La Chesnelaye.

5 1704-14: Régiment de Barville