Joan of Arc & the Siege of Orléans
- Joan of Arc was born to a peasant family in 1412. As a teenager, she received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War.
- The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the city of Orléans that had been under siege for seven months. Joan was able to sneak into the city and rally the French to a victory after only nine days.
- This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory and coronation of Charles VII’s at Reims.
- She was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction which was allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English, and then put on trial and burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.
- Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr.
- Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.
The Cathedral of Ste CroixThe Cathedral of Ste Croix in Orleans dominates the landscape of this re-built city and its twin towers are visible from most locations within the city. The modern rail transport leads right up to the cathedral. The first church of this name was built on this site during the 10th century – some of its foundations are preserved to this day, so it is truly historical. Joan of Arc attended evening Mass in this cathedral on May 2, 1429, while in the city to lift the siege and the church now honors her memory in statues and stained glass. In 1599, Henri VI financed the reconstruction of the cathedral which took over 200 years resulting in Gothic and Romanesque architecture. It was officially inaugurated on May 8, 1829 on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the liberation of Orleans by Joan of Arc. Walking into the cathedral feels like walking into a medieval knights ceremony with all the banners waving on the aisles. It’s really majestic. The naves of the Cathedral are adorned by a series of ten stained glass windows honoring Joan of Arc and also a special nave honoring her sainthood. Throughout the church are other touching memories of war heroes from World War I and World War II. A nice walk through history to learn about this female who changed history long before women were given leadership roles in modern Western society. The city moves on catering to the Loire Valley tourism, remembering their heroine Joan of Arc, and rebuilding with French charm. You have to appreciate a French carousel with medieval horses and a rocket ship.
Fetes de Jeanne d’Arc: From the end of April to the first week in May, the anniversary of the liberation of Orleans by Joan of Arc is celebrated by a series of events including medieval festival and market, concerts, exhibitions, sound and light displays and various processions commencing with ‘Joan’ entering the city through the ‘Port de Bourgogne’. Orleans Jazz Festival: The annual Orléans Jazz festival hails the start of summer with concerts at venues across the city. Festival de Loire d’Orleans: Over 5 days late September, the town of Orléans pays tribute to the Loire and its boating heritage. The “Port of Orléans”, is formed for the occasion consisting of over 1000 m of quays where you will find the biggest gathering of French riverboats: sapines, toues, gabarres, futreaux, chalands, yoles, plates. Fun Fact: The city of New Orleans, in Louisiana, United States is named after the commune of Orléans.
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