Monday, November 03, 2014

An Afternoon with Jeanne d'Arc at Orleans

It was Sunday morning and I was determined to add another ride to my training diary. The App on my phone said that the local area had a 40% chance of rain. Heading out from Thenay to Montrichard, the clouds didn’t look too menacing. Turning right in the direction of Chenonceau, I thought I might get some photos however on arrival it seemed it was closed. Well, it was All Saints day and I was relatively early. Returning back the long way, I headed towards via Monthou-sur-Cher, one of the prettiest villages on my training circuits - I’ll do a post on it before we leave the Loire. All up it was a 52 km ride with a Caffe Creme and a Croissant along the way at Montrichard.
Our Boulanger in Thenay where we get our baguette and Croissants.
I'll give a little tour through Thenay on a post soon and also our cottage.
I arrived home to catch the Boulanger open to get our warm baguette for lunch. As we were having lunch, I suggested to Sue, “Why don’t we take off to Orleans. In our previous visits, we have never been to Orleans. The city figures prominently in the history of Jeanne d’Arc with her battle against the English. Well, really it the saga goes back much further than that!!!!

In layman’s terms (that’s me) she first heard angels having a chat with her, telling her that they had bigger stuff in mind for her. So a little way later she popped off to Chinon to convince the Dauphin of France to give her an army to defeat the English. Now Charles the Dauphin was not about to be taken in by these tales of a young girl with this big ambition and so he put one of his servants in his robes prior to her entering the Chinon castle. Charlie was cloaked in court clothes to fool her. 

These reliefs at the base of the stature depict the chain of events in the life of Jeanne d'Arc.
The first is her meeting with the voices under the tree at her home as a young girl. Note that the reliefs have been vandalised unfortunately with several of the figure's heads being removed.
Her meeting with the Dauphin of France
Jeanne d'Arc army fight the English at Orleans but she is wounded in the battle which only spurs her soldiers on to success.
Although Jeanne d'Arc defeats the English and the Dauphin is crowned King of France, a deal is made to the Burgundians that Jeanne d'Arc is captured and put to trial treason - there is a very old black and white French film based on the trial that I have at home. From memory it is a silent movie. Must have another look when we get home.
The final scene in Jeanne d'Arc's life - burning at the stake.
Joanie was having none of this rot as the angels had clued her up before hand. Joanie knelt at the feet of Charlie to his amazement. The short story is that he agreed to give her an army to fight the English at Orleans. As the battle raged, Jeanne d’Arc was wounded but her army took inspiration by this young woman to take Orleans. The story does go on from here but maybe more in a later post.

As we entered Orleans, Sue and I were most impressed with the city centre. There in the huge Place, was this magnificent stature of Jeanne d’Arc on horseback. The relief around all four sides tell the story go her life from her first hearing of the angel’s voices to the end of her burning at the stake. Although I think Chinon’s statue of Jeanne d’Arc is more dramatic, this one with its story telling at the base is as awe inspiring in a different way.

We took a short walk to the Cathedrale Saint Croix which also featured a history of Jeanne d’Arc in the form of its stained glass windows. Quite magnificent. It followed my “layman’s history” of Jeanne d’Arc and I really was entranced by the artistry of those stained glass windows. I hope these photos do it a small amount of justice because being there is the only experience to implant the memory of Jeanne d’Arc.

The pictures below are of the Cathedrale Saint Croix and within. The stained glass windows mirror the life of Jeanne d'Arc as they did on the statue. Inspiring stuff.

Cathedrale Saint Croix at Orleans 
Ravens circle the top of the cathedral 

The people of Orleans giving thanks to Jeanne d'Arc after the battle.
At the stake

Statue of Jeanne d'Arc by candlelight within the cathedral.
We did drive around the corner to see what was supposedly the place where the “Maid of Orleans” lodged in 1429. The Maison Jeanne d’Arc is a reproduction built from period buildings in 1961. We drove on - maybe we missed something. We will never know.

For a Jeanne d’Arc tragic like myself, I’m pleased that we took the 200 km round trip. After following her history by film, books and traveling half of France, I think this may have been a fitting finale and rewarding finale for me - or perhaps further encouragement to learn more!


  1. Fabulous post and photos. How lucky you were with the weather, it really is rubbish now, think winter has arrived :-(((( D & N xx

    1. Thanks Diane - it was great day and we are still experiencing unusually good November weather


Love to get feedback so no reason to be shy - have your say.