TRACES OF JOAN OF ARC IN ORLEANS
When you think of Orleans, you probably think of Joan of Arc.
After all, the history of the capital of the Loire region is inextricably entwined with the history of the young woman who turned the tide of the Hundred Years’ War.
After entering the city on 29 April 1429, Joan of Arc and the French troops forced the English to withdraw from the Siege of Orleans on 8 May 1429.
Orleans has faithfully preserved the memory of this heroic figure, nicknamed the Maid of Orleans, ever since. Indeed, she’s impossible to miss!
So if you’re visiting Orleans for a day or weekend, follow in the footsteps of Joan of Arc and journey back in time…
Visit the key sites linked to the history of Joan of Arc
A statue of Joan of Arc stands in front of this city-centre mansion. It still bears the scars of fragments of the bomb which struck the Cathedral in 1944. Inside, various decorative elements recall the Maid of Orleans.
Musée des Beaux-Arts
The collections housed at Orleans Fine Arts Museum include the proliferation of depictions of Joan of Arc beginning in the second half of the 19th century.
Ten stained-glass windows in the Cathedral are devoted to Joan of Arc. One of the bells was named Joan of Arc in 1898. A chapel was dedicated to the national heroine in 1926. Bas-relief sculptures were installed outside the Cathedral in 1982, the work of French sculptor Paul Belmondo.
St Paul’s church stands south of the Joan of Arc Museum. It houses ceramics by Orleans artist Jeanne Champillou depicting Joan of Arc.
15TH CENTURY CITY WALL
Segments of the city’s Roman and Medieval ramparts remain standing today. In the east, the Tour Blanche, or ‘white tower’, stands alongside a portion of the Roman curtain wall. In the north, the wall can be seen in the courtyard of the former bishop’s palace and near the Cathedral, while the foot bridge connected to Porte du Matroi is visible in the car park beneath the square. In the west, sections of the Medieval wall are still visible on Rue du Cloître-Saint-Paul and Rue de la Chèvre-qui-Danse.
Rue Jeanne d’Arc
One of the most iconic streets in Orleans, Rue Jeanne d’Arc leads to Sainte-Croix Cathedral.
Originally planned to be called Rue Bourbon, it was renamed after the city’s legendary liberator shortly before completion.
Maison de Jeanne d’Arc
The house of Joan of Arc is where the young woman stayed for a short time in April-May 1429. A multimedia room on the ground floor shows a film about the history of the national heroine. Upstairs is the research and archive room housing just under 37,000 documents all about Joan of Arc.
Place du Martroi
The equestrian statue of Joan of Arc is a bronze monument made by Denis Foyatier in 1855.
The bas-relief sculptures on the pedestal depict various scenes from Joan of Arc’s life, from the divine voices heard in Domremy to her burning at the stake in Rouen.
The base was damaged during the Liberation fighting in 1944. The bas-relief sculptures, removed in 1987, were replaced by casts. The originals are now conserved in the city’s Fine Arts Museum.
Orleans Joan of Arc Festival
Every year from 29 April to 8 May, Orleans celebrates Joan of Arc during a festival dedicated to her, a tradition recognised as part of France’s intangible cultural heritage.
The festival offers a packed programme including processions, commemorations, a medieval market, the ‘burning’ of Sainte-Croix Cathedral’s towers, a sound and light show, and a DJ set
Whatever you do, plan your visit to Orleans to coincide with this highlight of the city’s cultural programme!
Visiting Orleans this summer for a short getaway or longer stay? Don’t miss the sound and light show dedicated to Joan of Arc, running from May to September!