Fêtes de Jeanne d'Arc
Joan of Arc Festival
29.04 - 08.05.2018
Orléans (Centre region)
Geographical, cultural and historical context
Orléans, located along the northern bend of the Loire River, at about 120 km of Paris, is the capital of the Loiret department and of the Centre-Val de Loire region. The origins of the city dates back to the Ancient Celts: then Cenabum was a Gallic stronghold of the Carnutes tribe and seat of the annual meeting of the Druids was conquered by Julius Caesar in 52 BC during the Gallic Campaign. The city was later rebuilt by Emperor Aurelian and renamed Aurelianum, or Aureliana Civitas ("city of Aurelian"), which later on evolved into Orléans. The city was always a strategic point on the Loire river, and in the Middle Ages it had one of the very few bridges over the river, thus being, along with Rouen and Paris, one of three richest cities in France. Today the city boasts a quite rich heritage and hosts several cultural and leisure events all year round. Besides, the UNESCO enlisted Loire Valley is worldwide famous and beloved thanks to its wonderful castles, such as Chateau de Chinon, Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau d'Amboise, Chateau de Blois, and the Chateau Royal de Chambord.
Orléans and Joan of Arc
Orléans is deeply linked to the figure of the French historical heroine who intervened in the history of France and of Orléans, and whose name will forever be associated with the city: Joan d’Arc (1412-1431 AD). Joan was born to a humble and pious peasant family in a little village in France in 1412. At that time France was engaged in a long-lasting war with England and its ally Burgundy: the "Hundred Years’ War", which was lit by an inheritance dispute over the French throne. After the defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, 1415 AD, France was at its lowest point, being partly occupied by the English army and disputed by the Armagnac and Burgundian parties. Then there were even "three Frances": Normandy, Picardie, Ile de France and Aquitaine under the English domination; Burgundy, Champagne and Flanders under the domination of Burgundy and, finally, the Kingdom of Bourges belonging to Charles VII, the uncrowned King of France. After the death of Henri V Plantagenet, the Duke of Bedford, who married the sister of the Duke of Burgundy, became the kingdom's regent. He aimed to extend his territory and laid siege and occupied the towns of the Loire Valley.
At age 13 Joan had visions of St. Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch telling her to help Charles VII to reconquer his kingdom. Joan managed to speak to Charles and at age 17 she was given a small army, which she led from one battle to another achieving success after success. In 1429 Orléans was besieged by the English forces. Although severely wounded, Joan led the French army to victory and freed the city, launching the Loire campaign which freed also Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire and Beaugency from English rule. The city's inhabitants have continued to remain faithful and grateful to her to this day, calling her "la pucelle d'Orléans" (the maid of Orléans), offering her a middle-class house in the city, and contributing to her ransom when she was taken prisoner.
Event description and programme
Every year between Orléans fervently celebrates its beloved heroine through a week-long event, the Fêtes Johanniques, that boasts a tradition stretching back over 500 years. At the crossroads of traditional civil, military and religious holidays the one of Joan of Arc is a unique event and contribute to the cultural influence of Orleans in France. The celebrations, which last from April 29th to May 8th, the date when the clergy formally returned the standard to the city authorities, include the commemoration of Joan's entry into the city, nocturnal son-et-lumière spectacular at the cathedral, medieval re-enactments and market, music and theatre shows, themed exhibitions, lectures and conferences, a wealth of other lesidure and educational activities and attractions offered to the visitors during the festival, and, last but not least, the final parade recalling the liberation of the city.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.
Info & Contact
Event official website
Orléans Tourism Office
Ville d’Orléans, Office de Tourisme et des Congrès
Address: 1 place de l'Étape, 45040 Orléans Cedex 1, Loiret department, Centre region
Orléans City Council / Orléans et son AgglO
Mairie d'Orléans et Communauté d'agglomération Orléans Val de Loire
Tel.: +33 (0)2 38792222
E-mail: online form http://www.orleans-agglo.fr/818/tourisme.htm
Loiret Tourism Office
Agence de Développement et de Réservation Touristique du Loiret
address: 8, rue d'Escures 45000 Orléans
Tel.: +33 (0)2 38780404
Image: Fêtes de Jeanne d'Arc
Text sources: Catholic saints, Wikipedia, Orleans City Council, Orleans Tourism Office, Fêtes de Jeanne d'Arc
Orléans on Google Maps:
Video reportages and trailers of the event:
The Son et Lumière show on the cathédrale Sainte-Croix: