As the President of France arrives via a convoy of the Republican Guard to the Arc de Triomphe, he is greeted by the parade commander, who informs him that the parade is now ready for inspection. He then rides the Chief of Defense Staff’s vehicle to inspect the troops on the Champs-Elysées escorted by troopers and officers of the Republican Guard’s cavalry regiment and its mounted band, waving on the crowds lining up on the boulevard. After he disembarks from the vehicle he finishes the inspection through one done for the Republican Guard Infantry units, then walks to the stage on the Place de la Concorde to meet the dignitaries present.
Since recent years the parade starts with military bands from the French Armed Forces taking stage with band exhibitions and drill shows, even including displays from foreign service troops and mounted units, and military and civil choirs and even singers singing classic French patriotic songs. This opening act ends with the playing of La Marseillaise, the National Anthem of France.
The parade opens with cadets from the military schools in order of seniority: the École Polytechnique, the Saint-Cyr, the École Navale, followed by newer academies. Competition between those schools often leaded to some practical pranks: Polytechnique is a highly selective engineer school(considered as the most difficult in the country) whose students reverse most of the time to civilian occupation while Saint Cyr is a professional officer school. As a consequence students from the first often “mined” the path for their colleagues using sticky or slippery products.
The Patrouille de France leads the fly-past of the French Air Force and Naval Aviation.