Old Guard (Vieille Garde): This was the crème de la crème of Napoleon's army. The Old Guard was made up of the longest serving veterans (3-5 campaigns) and consisted of two regiments:
- Grenadiers à Pied de la Garde Impériale: The Grenadiers of the Guard was the most senior regiment in La Grande Armée. During the 1807 campaign in Poland, the Grenadiers were given the nickname les grognards ("the grumblers") by Napoleon himself. They were the most experienced and brave infantrymen in the Guard, some veterans having served in over 20 campaigns. To join the Grenadiers, a recruit had to have been under the colours for at least 10 years, have received a citation for bravery, be literate and be over 178 cm tall. The Grenadiers à Pied did not see combat as often as the infantry of the Young or Middle guard, but when they did they performed admirably. In 1815, The Old Guard grenadiers were expanded to four regiments. The new regiments, the 2e, 3e and 4e Grenadiers were immediately classed as Old Guard, despite the fact that they were nowhere near the calibre of 1er Grenadiers. In fact, the army referred to them as Middle Guard. It was these regiments which were defeated by the British Guards at Waterloo. The 1er Grenadiers was engaged in fighting the Prussians at Placenoit. The Grenadiers à Pied wore a dark blue habit long (coat with long tails) with red turnbacks, epaulettes and white lapels. The Grenadiers most distinguishing feature was the tall bearskin hat, decorated with an engraved gold plate, a red plume and white cords.
- Chasseurs à Pied de la Garde Impériale:The Chasseurs of the Guard were the second most senior regiment in La Grande Armée. The 1er Chasseurs were the sister formation to the 1er Grenadiers à Pied. They had the same entry criteria, however accepted men who were 172 cm and taller. The Chasseurs performed just as well as the Grenadiers in combat, seeing action in several crucial battles. Following Napoleon's return in 1815, the Chasseurs was expanded to four regiments also, with the 2e, 3e and 4e regiments being formed from recruits with only four years experience. These regiments, together with 'Middle Guard' regiments of Grenadiers à Pied, formed the assault of the Guard during the final phase of the battle of Waterloo. As with the 1er Grenadiers à Pied, the 1er Chasseurs à Pied was engaged at Placenoit. The Chasseurs à Pied wore a dark blue habit long (coat with long tails) with red turnbacks, red epaulettes fringed green and white lapels. On campaign, the Chasseurs often wore dark blue trousers. As with the Grenadiers, the Chasseurs most distinguishing feature was the tall bearskin, decorated with a red over green plume and white cords.