*** Please scroll down after this post for pictures***
One of the reasons why D & I chose to stop in Chinon was for it’s History.
Chinon is located in the center of France,in a region called “la Touraine”
Our ultimate goal of this excursion was to visit the Fortresse royale/ Royal Fortress. These photos will follow, but first a brief intro; the fortress was first established as a royal place of residence in the 12th century, through Henri II and his queen, Eleanor of Aquitane.But the event that really put the Fortress in History happened in 1429. This is the year that a simple peasant girl from the Lorraine region in Eastern France , took a very long trip to Chinon. Her name was Joan of Arc :
Ingrid Bergmann portrayed Joan of Arc in a classic movie.
The story of Joan of Arc has been widely commented,ridiculed or worhshiped through the ages. But this is a simple country girl who towards the age of 12, had hallucinations and later heard voices when she was alone in the fields.She said that 3 saints ordered her to drive the English out of France and bring the heir to the throne to the city of Reims to be crowned king.
Now, whether it be the 15th century or 21st century, that’s quite a story for such a young girl to tell.But, her persistance and deep faith led her eventually to a Count,Robert de Baudricourt, and asked permission to be escorted to Chinon.Joan was determined to go to Chinon and tell the heir of the throne all that she heard and saw in her visions.
What would follow was a dangerous trip through then enemy occupied areas ( Joan disguiged as a man), all the way down to la Touraine and Chinon. The news spread to the court, that this young lady was arriving. At the time, suspicion was the key word, and the heir to the throne, Charles VII prefered to lay low. He disguised himself in ordinary clothes, and mingled with the crowd assembled at the Fortress.He observed the crowd and waited…
It is the most famous part of the Joan of Arc legend at Chinon, that once in the crowded room, Joan of Arc knew who was Charles VII, even without ever meeting him. She found him in the crowd, and bowed down before him adressing him as “Gentil Dauphin” or “Kind Prince”.
There was no hiding from Joan 🙂
The rest would follow is a long story; Joan leading the troops against the English throughout the countryside, with victories, defeats. Her vision for the prince became reality, as he was crowned King of France. But what followed for Joan was arrest by the English, with her trial, conviction ( for heresy) and burning of poor Joan on the stake in Rouen in Normandy, in 1431.
It is one of the most fascinating and touching episodes of France’s History.And more than happy to feature a woman who marked History.