It was founded in 1750, after the War of the Austrian Succession, by Louis XV on the basis of a proposal of Marshal Maurice de Saxe and with the support of Madame de Pompadour and the financier Joseph Paris Duverney, with the aim of creating an academic college for cadet officers from poor noble families. It was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, and construction began in 1752 on the grounds of the farm of Grenelle, but the school did not open until 1760. The Comte de Saint-Germain reorganised it in 1777 under the name of the École des Cadets-gentilshommes (School of Young Gentlemen), which accepted the young Napoleon Bonaparte in 1784. He graduated from this school in only one year instead of two.
It now hosts:
The École de guerre (War School) is a French institution for military higher education. It succeeds the former Collège interarmées de Défense (Joint Service Defense College), itself the result of the merger of the four Écoles supérieures de guerre of the French Army, French Navy, French Air Force and National Gendarmerie, and the Cours supérieur interarmées since 1 September 1993. It is located in the École Militaire, and is subordinated to the Chief of the Defence Staff (France). Teaching is selective, diversified, and focused on joint warfare, international relations, and planning.
The École de guerre teaches junior officers from the three services, the National Gendarmerie, Services (Service de santé des armées or Service des essences des armées), or Délégation générale pour l'Armement. Candidate students are recruited by competitive examination, each promotion featuring nationals of over 70 countries. Once admitted, they are trained to assume staff positions in their armies of origin, in joint staffs, on interallied staffs, or any other position where defence policies are crafted and implemented. Attendance to the school is usually a necessary step for achieving field officers positions.