In 2012, legendary figure Joan of Arc is being celebrated throughout France to honor the 600th anniversary of her birth. For this occasion, a wide range of events will take place, particularly in the Lorraine region, Orléans in the Loire Valley and Rouen in Normandy, due to her strong historical ties to these areas.
On February 26, a big celebration, medieval market, street festivals and reenactments will be held in Vaucouleurs. These events will be held in honor of Joan of Arc being granted an escort from Sir Robert de Baudricourt in Vaucouleurs to meet the Royal French court in Chinon on February 23, 1429. The Joan of Arc Museum in town is also a great destination, featuring 300 works of literature, history, religion, politics, art and more.
Orléans Honors Joan of ArcOrléans (Loire Valley)
The Siege of Orléans in 1429 was the historic battle that made Joan of Arc famous, for she ended the long siege just nine days after she arrived, tipping the 100 years war in France’s favor. To honor her, every year, Orléans has commemorated Joan of Arc from the end of April to the beginning of May since May 8, 1429. The city hosts an annual festival dedicated to her called the "Fête de Jeanne d'Arc." In 2012, events to commemorate the great figure will be organized throughout the year, such as commemorations, exhibitions, film screenings, light shows, and historical reconstructions. In May, a new virtual exhibition will be launched, illustrating 600 portraits from all different types of artists around the world, featuring drawings, sculptures and photographs. For more information, see their full press kit here.
Domrémy – Where it all Started
May - December
Joan of Arc’s hometown is hosting an ongoing program titled “Domrémy – where it all started," featuring historical symposiums, exhibitions, and concerts. Also in town, the public can visit her former home, the Church of Saint-Rémy where she was baptized, and the Centre Johannique, a center dedicated to showcasing the history and life of Joan of Arc.
Rouen Honors Joan of ArcRouen (Normandy)
Many commemorations will be held in Rouen, where Joan of Arc was on trial for heresy and then executed on May 30, 1431. On June 2, a guided tour will be organized to retrace the history of Joan of Arc in Rouen. On this day, a grand mass and an official ceremony will be held, followed by a parade of participants dressed in their own version of Joan of Arc. A grand feast, markets, and other events will also be held. Other local sites dedicated to the figure include the Joan of Arc wax museum, showcasing 100 characters retracing her life, and the donjon where she was imprisoned.
The Supernatural History of Joan of Arc ExhibitionRouen (Normandy)
June 2 - November 7Rouen's Museum of Natural History, housed in a former convent, will exhibit The True Supernatural History of Joan of Arc.
Joan of Arc... From Myth to Publicity ExhibitionStenay (Lorraine)
June 15 - September 15
Also in Lorraine, in the town of Stenay, The European Museum of Beer will exhibit Joan of Arc… from myth to publicity, showcasing 100 original works illustrating how this celebrated figure has become commercialized over the years. As early as 1880, Joan of Arc's image began to be used for promotional materials. Her image was used on labels of cheese and mineral water, and brasseries marketed “Joan the Warrior” to affirm their identity and make a statement.
July - SeptemberDuring the summer, Vaucouleurs will launch two new historical spectacles: one, in the chapel crypt, is an audiovisual show depicting Joan of Arc’s story; the second is a 3D projection of Joan of Arc to be reflected on the water's of the Porte de France. This will be the first of this kind of projection to be shown in France. For more information visit www.tourisme-vaucouleurs.com (French language only).
Meuse department (Lorraine)
SummerWalking and biking tours will be hosted through the tourism office of Meuse to retrace Joan of Arc's steps in the region. Other events planned include orchestral concerts performing original work inspired by Joan of Arc, and outdoor 3D projections of films about the great figure.
Tel: +33(0)2 38 79 29 98
Lorraine Tourism Board
Tel: +33(0)3 83 80 01 89
Vaucouleurs Tourism Board
RouenRouen Tourism Board
Tel: +33(0)2 32 08 32 40
Images 1 & 2: Mairie d'Orléans
Image 3: Musée Européene de la Bière