Tag Archives: Chinon

Jeanne at Chinon

By Joan

Jeanne arrived in Chinon to see the dauphin on February 23, after what must have been an extremely arduous journey through enemy territory. It took Charles two days to decide to receive her. This kind of dithering typified Charles and caused Joan much anxiety throughout her campaign as she felt the urgency to act and Charles dragged his feet and put roadblocks in her way.
We arrived in Chinon from Orleans, going in the opposite direction from Joan who left Chinon on her way to her first major battle, the liberation of Orleans from the siege of the English. Chinon castle is high on a promontory offering an incredible view of the valley of the Vienne river and therefore a wonderful defensive position for its medieval rulers. We learned the history of the castle and the close relationship between France and England as we made our way through the exhibits. A few hundred years before Joan’s visit, this castle belonged to King Henry II of England  who spent most of his life here with his wife Catherine of Aragon. His sons, Richard the Lion Hearted and King John II both spent time here as they intrigued and plotted against each other and their father for power and the English throne.
Joan was eventually successful in convincing Charles to let her lead the French army and, at the end of April, she left Chinon for Orleans which had been under siege for 7 months, the inhabitants starving. The town was liberated on May 8. In all of her battles, Joan requested that the English leave in peace and return to England where they belonged rather than fight, seeking to avoid bloodshed, seeking peace.
I am intrigued by her confidence and determination as she carried out the mission her voices commanded of her. How did she maintain her connection with her inner guides in the face of all the obstacles put in her path? What is the message for today? What does Joan have to tell us about life and its purpose? Facing adversity with courage, keeping love and compassion in the forefront of the mind and one’s actions at all times, under all conditions… this challenge is huge. Joan did this, can I?

The Ancient Plantagenet Castle at Chinon

 Chinon: Ruins of the Hall where the Dauphin Received Jeanne


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From Domremy to Chinon

On February 13, 1429, Joan of Arc passed through the “Porte de France” in Vaucouleurs and set out for the ancient fortified castle of the Plantagenets at Chinon where the dauphin had his court. Chinon is southwest of Tours and perhaps 200 kilometers southwest of Paris. From Vaucouleurs it was a journey of around 500 kilometers, through territories controlled by the English and their Burgundian allies and in a difficult winter of cold and rainy weather and rivers at high water. 

It took three attempts to persuade Robert de Boudricourt, the King’s representative or “Captain” in Vaucouleurs just north of Domremy.  Ultimately she persuaded him of her mission and he provided a military escort and support for the journey.

Joan leaving Vaucouleurs, painting by Scherrer

At this time, Domremy was a small isolated pocket in the north-east of what is now France. It was still in French hands, separated by a long distance from the rest of the French territories as can be seen on the map below. The journey through enemy territory had to be undertaken discreetly, off the main roads and often at night. They slept “rough” when they could and travelled 55 to 60 kilometers per day, often during the night. Only when they left Gien on the Loire were they back into French territory.

 The “Porte de France,” on 25 October 2012

Today this journey is still surprisingly longish if one tries to follow her route even by car mainly because one travels along country roads with numerous pauses for villages.  However, the regions we passed through are interesting, ranging from prairie-like open rolling land to the calcium stony vineyards of Chablis that go on forever. 0ne also passes through small villages with ancient churches dating back to the era of Charlemagne and larger towns such as Auxerre. We also paused at some locks and a port of the Paris to Dijon Canal.

 “Joan of Arch” at the “Porte de France”

Jeanne at Vaucouleurs

Chablis Vineyards October 25 2012

Chablis Vineyards

At a set of locks and a port on the Paris to Dijon Canal 

Canal Locks

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