Tag Archives: Robert de Baudricourt

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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Domremy La Pucelle

By Joan

On Monday, October 22, 2012, we arrived in Domremy, the small village in Lorraine where Joan was born in 1412. We visited the church she prayed in and walked around the town. Its quiet, pastural, peacefulness affected us both. No wonder Joan loved this place.

Joan heard her voices in the garden of her father’s house at the age of 13 – St. Margaret telling her how to conduct her life… a powerful way to come into puberty. At 16, to her father’s displeasure, she went to nearby Toul to have the promise made by her father for her marriage canceled. She defended herself brilliantly and won the court case. By that time her renown as having direct communication with the Divine was growing and the Duke of Lorraine sent for her to help him with his troubles. Undeterred by their social class differences, Joan let him know that her voices didn’t give her any insight into his problems but she advised him to treat his wife better and to end his relationship with his mistress. He seems to have listened and he paid her for her advice. Clarity, strength of character, piety, determination, commitment, describe Joan well.

On Tuesday, we walked from Domremy to Greux, a few hundred yards down the road, then on to Maxey-sur-Meuse a couple of kilometers away. Maxey was Burgundian in Joan’s time and there were often skirmishes between the people of the two villages. Joan was close to the conflicts of the Hundred Years War since Domremy, loyal to the king of France, was surrounded by Burgundian lands. We drove to Vaulcouleurs where Joan, after three visits, finally convinced Baudricourt, the king’s deputy, to fit her out so she could go to the Dauphin. The local people were on her side, providing her with an escort and equipping her for her journey – 11 days overland on a horse through enemy territory in February! Joan had true grit!

We’ll make our journey to Chinon by car… and see what is left of the castle where Joan met the Dauphin.

Our lodging in Domremy was at a small Bed and Breakfast on the Rue Principal called Sur les pas de Jehanne…” (www.les.pas.de.jehanne.fr) It was a lovely place run by a most agreeable couple, Marie Therese and Alain Mathieu.

Joan of Arc’s home which she left, never  to return

 A statue of St. Margaret who inspired Joan in the Domremy church of St. Remy

 A small chapel of Notre Dame de Bermont in the hills near Domremy which Joan visited on Saturdays

Sur les pas de Joan

 Joan with her voices in her garden in Domremy, by Jules Bastien-Lepage, 1879, Metropolitan Museum of Art


The Church in Domremy

Jeanne d’Arc’s Home as seen from the Church

Don and Gord Gamble, Joan’s brothers, visiting Domremy or a nearby town in 1956

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