Joan of Arc Tour
Born a simple peasant girl, Joan claimed she had religious visions and a divine mission to drive the English out of 15th Century France and bring about the coronation of the Dauphin. Known as the Maid of Orleans, she was a great symbolic figurehead and did much for French morale, leading the French army to several victories. But after a brief truce, Joan was captured, accused of heresy, sentenced to death and then famously burnt at the stake. She was canonized in 1920 and is now one of the most well-known saints in the Roman Catholic Church.
Tour highlights include:
- City tour of Paris, to include famous statues of Joan of Arc and the Abbey of Saint-Denis, burial place of French monarchs and where Joan blessed her armour.
- Compiegne, where Joan was captured and the Church of St Jacques where she prayed.
- Reims and the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, where Charles VII was crowned.
- Vaucouleurs, where Joan persuaded Robert de Baudricourt, the French Captain of Vaucouleurs to support her mission.
- Birthplace of Joan of Arc, her house and the church where she was baptised.
- Orleans, where Joan celebrated her first great victory and inspired the French army to end the famous siege of Orleans. See the Cathedrale Ste-Croix and the stained glass windows telling the story of her life and the house where she stayed during the siege.
- The picturebook castle in Sully-sur-Loire, where she was kept by Georges la Tremoille, who opposed her influence over the King.
- The strategic towns of Meung and Beaugency, recaptured in a joint offensive by Joan, the Duke of Alencon and the Constable of France.
- Chinon Castle, where Joan was first presented to Charles VII and the Castle of Saumur, residence of Yolande of Aragon, the King's mother-in-law.
- Rouen, where Joan's trial was held in 1431. See the ruins of Chateau de Bouvreuil, where Joan was imprisoned and the Abbey of Saint-Ouen, the site of Joan's public recantation and the old market square where she was publicly burnt at the stake.
- The large cross and St Joan of Arc Church marking the location of her execution.
- Beautiful Chateau of Chenonceau, one of the most stunning of the famous Loire chateaux.
Photographs: Joan of Arc monument, Paris; Notre-Dame, Paris © Paris Tourist Office/Marc Bertrand; Joan of Arc Church, Rouen © CRT Normandy