Joan of Arc in Rouen
Joan of Arc’s childhood
She was born into a family of relatively well-off peasants, in Domrémy in north-eastern France. His father, a plowman, was mayor of the village. And he owns his land. Despite the legend of the little shepherdess, Jeanne surely had an advanced education. Even if historians are not formal as to her origins. At the age of 13, Jeanne claimed to have received visions from the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from British domination. After she received permission from her father to meet Lord Robert de Baudricourt, the lord gave her an armed escort to join the French Royal court in Chinon. During eleven days, she traversed the hostile territory of Burgundy dressed as a soldier. Her success was seen as a miracle in itself!
Joan of Arc, the incredible destiny of a heroine
In 1429, the king ordered her to liberate Orleans from the British occupation. The same year, Charles VII can go to the Cathedral of Reims for his coronation. But, she was captured in Compiègne by the Burgundian faction on 23th May 1430. After that, the bishop Pierre Cauchon tried her. Declared mad, she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, at 19 years old.
Joan of Arc, the current myth
Twenty-five years after, King Charles VII rehabilitates the memory of Joan of Arc. Finally, she was canonized in 1920, five hundred years after. Today she is one of the most important figures of French patriotism.
She is know worldwide today because she took charge of the national destiny, to save the French kingdom. Also strong minded, she perfectly embodied the french spirit, even today.
What to discover in Rouen in the footsteps of Joan of Arc
Firstly, you can visit the church of St Joan of Arc. Inaugurated in 1979. In the center of the old market square, Joan of Arc was burn, for heresy. The legends says that she screamed « Rouen, would you be my last home? » She turned into ashes…The ashes they were then collected and thrown into the river Seine. A small garden, located to the north of the church, marks the spot.
The Saint Joan of Arc’s church, is nicknamed “overturned boat” by the modern architecture and the inside wooden structure. Inside, the elegant stained glass windows come from the old Saint Vincent church. From the Renaissance period, they were made by the greatest master glass-makers.
In addition, the Historial Joan of Arc is very interesting, with in particular an immersive experience: becoming a judge of the trial of Joan of Arc, and going back to the 15th century!
The Chateau de Rouen is where the trial took place. This fortified ducal and royal residence was destroyed at the end of the 16th century.
The dungeon hosted one of the sessions of Joan of Arc’s trial on 9 May 1431. She was not imprisoned here but in the now-lost Tour de la Pucelle. It is now open to the public.
Moreover, the impressive Notre Dame Cathedral houses a Joan of Arc chapel, with beautiful stain glass windows representing Joan’s life. The sculpture shows us Joan of Arc, chained to the post, given to the flames. The stained glass windows were made in 1956, by Max Ingrand.
One of them is telling you the history of Joan of Arc, from her banner, the capture, the prison, the trial, and the execution. One stain glass window illustrates the coats of arms of the cities linked to the history of Joan of Arc: Vaucouleurs, Rouen, Paris, Orleans, Reims…Another represents vocation, recognition by Charles VII, military campaigns and the coronation of Charles VII.
Despite the mystery around her, she was a hero as she dedicated her short life to liberating the French kingdom. From the 19th century, she is one of the most heroic figures, like Saint Louis, Charlemagne, Vercingetorix…