Rouen : Jeanne d’Arc , and France !!!

I have written plenty on my belle France in my blog, many places, Once in a while , I write about a figure of French history that has attracted me even more to the République Française or the Royaume de France, The fact is the world’s most visited country according to the official UN WTO leaves no arguments, I have come several times to Rouen, each time more enriching than the last, and one huge figure of it is Jeanne d’Arc or Joan of Arc. I like to tell you a bit about this most French figure in my black and white series,no pictures. Hope you enjoy it as I,

Rouen is a city cross by the Seine river in the department 76 of Seine-Maritime in the region of Normandie. Rouen is the administrative Capital or prefecture of the region, now part of the  metropole Rouen-Normandie ,6th in size in France and 2nd on the west. The governmental metropole Rouen-Normandie webpage:

The city of Rouen was between 911 and 1204, the capital of the duchy of Normandy and for many years always in dispute between the French and the English especially during the War of 100 years. It was on its soil that Jeanne d’ Arc  was imprisoned , judge, and burned at the stake on May 30 , 1431. She is now a patron Saint of France, doctor of the Catholic Church. The city was heavily bombarded during WWII in 1944 and revive later thanks to its wonderful harbor 5th port in France. The Seine river covers 179 hectares of the city area.  In 949, the Duke of Normandy, Richard I known as the Fearless wins a decisive battle over a coalition of forces which included the king of France, Louis IV , Emperor Othon the Great and the Count of Flandres. A plaque commemorating this victory is at the Place de la Rougemare.  The work (invasion and conquest of England) by William the Conqueror Duke of Normandy allows the region to be the most powerful in Europe. It is at Rouen that William the Conqueror died in 1087. It is after the burning of Jeanne d’Arc by the instigation of the Duke of Bedford and the Burgundian party majority in the city; same year a young Henri IV is crowned king of France and England in Paris before coming to Rouen where he is acclaimed by the people.  The king Henri IV takes the city of Rouen in  1449, 18 years after the death of Jeanne d’Arc and 30 years after the English occupation.

Joan of Arc, known as “the Maid”, born around 1412 in Domrémy, a village in the duchy of Barn, Lorraine (currently in the department of Vosges 88 region of Grand Est), and died at the stake on May 30, 1431 in Rouen, capital of the Duchy of Normandy (currently the Seine Maritime 76 department of the Normandie region) then an English possession, is a heroine of the history of France, warlord and saint of the Catholic Church, posthumously nicknamed “the Maid of Orleans”.

On April 27, 1429, Joan of Arc was sent by the king to Orléans, not at the head of an army, but with a supply convoy that ran along the Loire on the left bank. Arriving in Orléans on April 29, she brought supplies and was enthusiastically welcomed by the population, but the war captains were reserved. With her faith, her confidence and her enthusiasm, she manages to breathe new energy into the desperate French soldiers and to compel the English to raise the siege of the city on the night of May 7-8, 1429. Because of this victory (again celebrated in Orléans during the “Johannic Festivals”, every year from April 29 to May 8), she is nicknamed the “Maid of Orléans”, an expression appearing for the first time in 1555 in the book Le Fort inexpugnable de l’honneur du sexe féminin by François de Billon, something like The Impregnable Stronghold of Female Honor.

Captured by the Burgundians at Compiègne in 1430, it was sold to the English by Jean de Luxembourg, Count of Ligny, for the sum of ten thousand pounds. She was condemned to be burned alive in 1431 after a trial for heresy led by Pierre Cauchon, bishop of Beauvais and former rector of the University of Paris. Tainted by numerous irregularities, this trial saw its revision ordered by Pope Calixte III in 1455. A second trial was held which concluded, in 1456, that Joan was innocent and completely rehabilitated her. Thanks to these two trials, the minutes of which have been preserved, she is one of the best known personalities of the Middle Ages. Beatified in 1909 then canonized in 1920, Joan of Arc became one of the two secondary patron saints of France in 1922, Her national holiday was instituted by law in 1920 and fixed for the 2nd Sunday in May.

During the French revolution, in 1792 on the last days of the monarchy, several members loyal to the king are united in  Rouen and put in place all the necessary preparation for host the King and fight back. However, the always indecisive Louis XVI decides to stayed in Paris; this stopping all possibilities of an uprising to reverse the revolutionary process. Therefore, Rouen was the last chance for the monarchy to win back the monarchy of Louis XVI. Symbolize by a statue done by Jean-Pierre Cortot, erected in 1838, makes Rouen one of the 8 cities represented in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. During the war of 1870, Rouen is occupied by the Prussians  with 16 battalions and 16 squadrons under General Ferdinand von Bentheim. During the Great War or WWI, Rouen served as a base for the British army, The city welcome many Belgians escaping from the Nazis, and the city turns out to help them out with donations, the city hall of Rouen decided to change the name of the bd Cauchoise to bd des Belges (or blvd of Belgians) to honor them.  Rouen was again occupied by the Nazis in WWII on June 1940 and suffered greatly the bombardments and fires practically destroying the whole of the old town between the Cathedral and the Seine river ; and on August 2 1944 the general mobilization for the war is call for in the city., On August 30 1944 the Nazis retreat and the city is finally liberated by the Canadians.

The place du Vieux-Marché, has now a huge market ,there you see the Cross at the spot of the burning, and the Church of Jeanne d’Arc  built at the same spot of the martyrdom May 30 1431.  The tower of  Jeanne d’Arc that was part of the old Castle of Rouen built in 1204 by king Philippe Auguste on the ruins of a Gallo-Roman amphitheater of Rotomagus; it is on this castle that Jeanne d’Arc was imprisons and where the charges against her were given.

Some of the interesting thing of Rouen is that as well as been name a City of Arts and History of France; Stendhal called it The Athens of the Gothic style.  I have several posts on what can you see in Rouen so will skip repetition here , just see posts,

The City of Rouen on its heritage :

The Rouen tourist office on its heritage :

The Seine Maritime dept 76 tourist office on Rouen:

There you go, I think I pay my respects to Rouen, a wonderful town, history, architecture and good food as the Norman hole or the trou Normand ::) , The history of Jeanne d’Arc is always fascinated and inspiring these days too. Glad have her on my blog, and again ,hope you have enjoy the post as I

And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all !!!

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