Officially, général d'armée is not a rank (grade in French), but a position and style (rang et appellation) bestowed on some généraux de division (divisional general, which is the highest substantive rank) in charge of important commands, such as chief of staff of the army (chef d'état-major de l'armée de terre) or chiefs of general staff (chef d'état-major des armées).
A général d'armée displays five stars on a shoulder board. The mention of the current usage of "a sixth star authorized for the army general in command of the Paris sector" is a legend, this sixth star never existed. The Air Force equivalent is général d'armée aérienne and the Navy equivalent is amiral.
Only a Marshal of France (Maréchal de France) is higher; however, Marshal of France is not a rank, but a dignity of the State (dignité dans l'État), today not bestowed. It is considered to be a position of distinction rather than an actual military rank. A seventh star is displayed on the general of the army insignia by a Marshal of France.
The title of army general in France and elsewhere should not be confused with the rank of general of the army, which is more senior, and corresponds to other countries' marshal or field marshal. The rank of "general of the army" theoretically corresponds to overall command of an entire national army with several armies in the field, while the title "army general" only theoretically corresponds to the command of an individual army in the field.
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