Did not serve in the Legion, but some friends have, and I went to Commando school in southern France with some of them, and we jumped together and swam L'Aveyron together. Did an FTX with CoyB of the 2REP, and I'll tell you that they are some highly professional troops, with a take-no-shit attitude.
Their training is particularly rigorous, and their NCOs are known for hardnosed ways. That said, I don't believe that they hit their privates any more than any other European army (in other words you might get smacked in the head by the Chef Adjoin of the platoon, but thats about it).
They do regard uniform cleanliness as next to Godliness, and they do have double creases in their dress uniforms. They also are the last people you want to piss off, as far as soldiers from a continental European nation are concerned.
A couple of the guys re-enlisted at the end of their 5 year tours, so it could not be all that bad.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?