Despite the recent formation of the regiment in its current configuration, it is the oldest French cavalry regiment, dating back to 1556. The regiment found fame as the personal regiment of Louis, Duke of Enghien and later Prince of Condé, from 1635 to 1686; in honour of the "Grand Condé," it is still called the "Condé-Dragons". The French Revolution gave it the designation of the second regiment of dragoons in the French Army, and with brief interruptions it has served under this name in successive French armies ever since.
The 2nd Dragoons trace their lineage to the formation of a compagnie d'ordonnance by Louis de Bourbon, head of the House of Condé, in 1556. At the time it numbered 50 lances fournies—50 knights, plus about 5 supporting men-at-arms each, for a total of about 300 men. In 1635, this company became the Régiment d'Anguien-Cavalerie, after its proprietor Louis, Duke of Enghien (the future Grand Condé), one of twelve regiments formed by a royal order of 16 May to fight in the war against the Holy Roman Empire. Enghien appointed the Chevalier de Tavannes as the commander (mestre de camp) of the regiment. It immediately was sent to serve in the Italian peninsula, where it probably operated as a collection of independent light cavalry companies. In 1636, it was sent to join the French campaign against Franche-Comté, and it participated in the unsuccessful siege of Dôle that spring. It was reduced to independent companies in July 1636, and restored to a full regiment in January 1638. Sent to fight in the Pyrenees in the war against Spain, the Anguien-Cavalerie participated in the unsuccessful Siege of Fuenterrabía, during which their commander de Tavannes was killed. Under its new commander the Marquis de Livry, the regiment fought in the successful Siege of Turin in 1640. Following the siege, the regiment helped take several towns in Piedmont for the French, and in 1641 it fought in the siege of Coni. During 1642 to 1643, the regiment fought in the Reapers' War under Marshal Philippe de La Mothe-Houdancourt, helping gain large sections of the Principality of Catalonia for the French–Catalan alliance. It joined the Duke of Enghien in Germany in 1644, fighting at Freiburg, Phillippburg, Mainz, and Landau. At the Second Battle of Nördlingen on 3 August 1645, the Marquis de Livry was killed. The Marquis de Lanques replaced him, and under his command, the regiment was among those that took Heilbronn and Trier for the French. The regiment was sent to the siege of Dunkirk, where on 26 December 1646 it was renamed the Régiment de Condé-Cavalerie, after Enghien became Prince of Condé on the death of his father. The Condé-Cavalerie was sent to Catalonia for two years, while Prince Louis was assigned to command the French and Catalan forces, where it took part in the unsuccessful second siege of Lleida.In 1805 the 2nd Dragoon Regiment was made part of the 1st Dragoon Division (commanded by General of Division Louis Klein) of Marshal Joachim Murat's Reserve Cavalry Corps in the Grande Armée of Napoleon I. The First Empire gave them scarlet as their distinguishing colour on their facings and coat lapels, which they shared with the 1st through 6th Dragoons. In the autumn of 1805, the regiment and the rest of Klein's division was part of the remarkably successful Ulm Campaign, fighting at the battles of Wertingen and Albeck on 8 and 11 October, at the Battle of Ulm a week later, and at the Battle of Austerlitz on 20 November. During the War of the Fourth Coalition, the regiment fought at the Battle of Jena on 14 October 1806, the Battle of Golymin on 26 December that year, the Battle of Eylau on 7–8 February 1807 (including Marshal Murat's colossal cavalry charge), the Battle of Heilsberg on 10 June, and the eventual victory at the Battle of Friedland on 14 June.From 1808 to 1813, the regiment and the rest of the 1st Dragoon Division (now under General of Division Victor Latour-Mabourg) along with much of the Reserve Cavalry Corps (under Jean-Baptiste Bessières) served in the Peninsular Campaign. There, they fought many small skirmishes with the Spanish, and saw action in several major battles. They began their campaign at the First Siege of Zaragoza in the summer of 1808, followed by the Battle of Tudela on 23 November. In 1809, they fought in the Battle of Uclés on 13 January, the Battle of Medellín on 28 March, the Battle of Talavera on 27–28 July, and the Battle of Almonacid on 11 August. On 27 September 1810, the 2nd Dragoon Regiment fought at the Battle of Bussaco, in 1811 it fought at the Battle of Chiclana on 5 March and the siege of Elvas later that year, and on 21 June 1813 it fought in the Battle of Vitoria. A small detachment served in the French invasion of Russia in 1812 as part of Marshal Pierre Augereau's reserve XI Corps. On the return of the regiment from Germany in 1814 following the First Bourbon Restoration, it went to Paris and received the title of dragons du Roi, as the most senior regiment of dragoons (the previous 1st Dragoon Regiment now was a regiment of chevau-légers lanciers). Following Napoleon's return to France, it returned to its previous name and number on 23 April 1815. During the Hundred Days, the regiment was initially part of the 4th Reserve Cavalry Division. In the Army of the North's Belgian campaign, it was part of the 11th Cavalry Division, in Marshal François Étienne de Kellermann's III Reserve Cavalry Corps. During the retreat following the battle of Waterloo, the 2nd Dragoons attacked and defeated a Prussian force in a skirmish at Sentis. After Napoleon's surrender, it joined the many units camped out in the Loire valley while a new settlement between the coalition and the Bourbons was made. The regiment was dissolved on 4 December 1815, after the Second Bourbon Restoration.