Travels

Orléans and The Maid

Friday 26 July 2019

Popped across the Loire in Amboise to get a another view of the royal palace,

and see the statue of Leonardo giving himself a bit of an airing

on the Isle.

Orléans was a little over an hour away. I parked up beside the Loire and cycled along the river into the city.

The FRAC gallery has a modern architecture exhibition,

but, for me, it didn’t live up to the building,

outside

or in.

Orléans features Joan of Arc everywhere which, as she’s a French icon, isn’t surprising.

Joan crossed the Loiret river south of the city and reached Orléans on 29 April 1429 . The city, besieged by the English and the Burgundians, was on the verge of surrender. Galvanised by her energy and her faith, it only took French 10 days to change the course of history by transforming the besiegers into the besieged. Liberating Orléans on May 8, they took control of a strategic passage over the Loire, hence bringing to a halt any English hopes of conquering the whole of France.

Joan is often featured with her banner, as here in Orléans Cathedral.

She stated that she carried her banner in battle and had never killed anyone, preferring her banner “forty times” more than a sword.

The army was always directly commanded by a nobleman, but many of these noblemen stated that Joan had a profound effect on their decisions since they accepted the advice she gave them was divinely inspired. Whatever the reason, historians agree that the army enjoyed remarkable success during her brief time with it.

Joan attended evening mass in the cathedral on May 2 1429 while lifting the siege, though it looked very different then. The cathedral’s stained glass windows now depict her story.

I liked the cathedral.

I had a straightforwardness about it.

During the 10-day Siege of Orléans, 17-year-old Joan stayed on the site of this building,

a faithful reconstruction of the house she knew. The museum contains exhibits about her life but I’d seen a lot of that in Rouen.

Orléans is a pleasant city to walk around, with a great riverside promenade.

The French do love a row of trees.

It has an old city with narrow streets,

and it has sweeping avenues.

In a side street I stumbled across a church that had been repurposed as a gallery.

It was showing women in a modern take on their traditional dress.

I thought they were terrific images.

A nice find.

Kicking myself I forgot to take the details of the artist.

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