It is currently the school holidays in France and I have two weeks off from teaching. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to explore the region that I am living in. I am one week into the holiday and I have just returned from a short trip to Orléans. I went with some other language assistants, we stayed for two nights in an apartment along the Loire Valley. During our stay we discovered the history of Joan of Arc (in France she is known as Jeanne d’Arc) and we learnt about her victory at the Battle of Orleans. Joan of Arc is considered a French heroine and she is an important part of French Heritage. In the main square of Orléans, Place de Gaulle, there is a huge statue of Joan of Arc on a horse. She is in her armour and claiming victory. The house where she lived in Orléans has also been made into a museum celebrating her life and the sacrifices that she made for France.
So how did Joan of Arc become considered a heroine of France? Joan of Arc is also known as The Maid of Orléans. She was born in 1412 in Domrémy, Bar, France. At the age of 18 she led the French army to victory over the British at Orléans in the Hundred Year’s War. She was captured a year later and burned at the stake as a heretic by the English and their French collaborators. She was named as a Roman Catholic saint more than 500 years later in 1920. The Hundred Years War was a battle over who was the rightful king of France. Joan of Arc began to have visions that portrayed her as the saviour of France. She went to see Charles VII, who was considered to be the rightful heir of the throne. After long discussions Charles VII agreed to let Joan of Arc accompany the French army to the battle where she later conquered the English. Joan of Arc was a young girl and her bravery and actions to protect France were unheard of for a woman. Joan of Arc is one of the most powerful female figures in French history.
Learning about the history of Joan of Arc was really interesting and allowed me to understand how important she is in French culture. France is very proud of Joan of Arc.
Tell us about a hero or heroine from your country.