Joan of Arc Historical Tour

Women’s Studies & Christianity in France

French NGO Cimade was founded by Christian activists at the start of World War II to aid those who have been uprooted by war. There’s no better way to channel this beloved saint than to learn how you can help this organization.

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Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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Your plane will land in the city of Nancy in northeastern France, which is where you’ll stay before officially starting your unique journey into Women’s Studies. While here, you and your group will have the chance to explore the city and everything it has to offer. Aside from its various shops and restaurants, its centuries-old sites include the Place Stanislas, Ville Vieille, and the Parc de la Pépinière.

Since you’re in for a great deal of traveling for the next week and a half, you’ll keep this day as simple as possible.

The first official stop on your tour will be the small town of Domremy-la-Pucelle, where Joan was born in 1412 to a wealthy peasant family. The small house where she was born and lived with her parents and four siblings is now a museum, and you’ll be able to walk through it as you learn the details of her upbringing. 

Next to her family home is the Church of St. Remi, where Joan was baptized and attended mass regularly. On Côteau de Vignes, a hill that overlooks the town, you’ll find the spectacular Basilique Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc, once the site of the Chapelle Sainte-Marie, where Joan claimed she heard voices.

From this town, you’ll then pay a visit to the commune of Vaucoulers, where Joan’s mission truly started, as she spent several months in 1428 and 1429 asking the local military captain to escort her on her visit to Charles VII. The Castele chapele where she would frequently pray still stands, and now features incredible stained-glass windows depicting her life. You’ll also visit the local museum as well as the town hall, which now has her statue erected in front of it.

On the third day, you’ll wake up early to make the long trek out to Chinon, mirroring Joan’s journey to meet the Dauphin, Charles VII. After traveling across the beautiful French countryside, you’ll tour the Château de Chinon, where Joan finally met the Dauphin and convinced him to give her an army. You’ll hear all about their first meeting and how, after weeks of cross-examination, she was able to convince the timid man to give her an army and his blessing to lead the rebellion.

While visiting this incredible fortress, you’ll get a clearer insight into not only Joan’s mission but also the lives of the Dauphin and the family of King Henry II, who lived there hundreds of years earlier. Furthermore, as you explore the historic town, you’ll not only see plenty of remnants from its medieval period but also get to walk along the same path that Joan took towards the castle.

As soon as you reach Orléans, you’ll immediately take note just how celebrated Joan is throughout the city. And given just how much she accomplished here in such a short amount of time, it’s not hard to understand why. There were only nine days between her arrival in April of 1429 and when the English retreated in May. As troops stormed the fortresses for St. Loup and Augustines, Joan was said to have mourned the enemy’s deaths and tried to limit the loss of life. She even resolved to fight on despite her wounds during the last two days, as it was her influence and motivation that inspired the French soldiers to keep pressing forward.

You’ll spend the day touring the Château de Meung-Sur-Loire, which welcomed Joan and gave her a place to stay upon her arrival. You’ll also visit the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and the Centre de Jeanne d’Arc, located where she lived in 1429. The center even presents a documentary on the Maiden of Orléans, describing her life in great detail. And a grand statue of Joan on horseback, which is beautifully lit at night, now stands at the former site of the Bannier city gate. 

You and your group will now travel further northeast to the city of Reims, which was the site of two significant events along Joan’s journey. The first was the Bloodless March, which occurred between May 11 and May 16, shortly after taking back Orléans and involved taking the Dauphin to the Reims cathedral for coronation. Despite the fact that they were traveling to and across English-controlled territory, Joan was still able to get the Dauphin and her army to Reims without any bloodshed. The second event, of course, was the coronation of King Charles VII, which took place in the cathedral that July. Joan was said to have wept tears of joy as she stood by the new king with her banner in hand.

Not surprisingly, your big stop on this leg will be the cathedral itself, which is also known as Notre Dame de Reims. Built during the 13th century, it has since undergone several reconstructions due to fires and damage sustained during the first World War. Two different statues of Joan are displayed outside and within the church. You’ll also have a chance to explore Saint Remi Basilica, named after the city’s patron saint, and the Palace of Tau, which houses several artifacts used in the French kings’ coronations.

Joan’s downfall will now come to the forefront as you visit the commune of Compiègne. It was during the siege of this city in May of 1430 that Joan was captured by the Burgundians. While here, you’ll pay a visit to the Château de Compiègne, a palace built for Louis XV, and the Musée Antoine Vivenel, a small art and history museum founded in 1839. You and your group will also walk through the thick Forest of Compiègne, where you’ll pay a visit to the Glade of the Armistice for World. Considering this site’s significance in the Hundred Years War and both World Wars, it’s clear that this site has long been integral when it comes to European conflicts.

Things become bleaker as you travel to Beaurevoir, the site of Joan’s imprisonment before she was sold off to the British. It’s also where Charles VII made an unsuccessful attempt to pay a ransom and rescue her. Although this commune is quite small and has little to visit compared to other stops on this trip, the location where Joan was improsoned is still standing today. This small tower was once a section of the Chateau de Beaurevoir and can be visited freely by tourists. However, the interior is completely inaccessible. While there, you’ll also pay a visit to the British Cemetery, in which 244 World War I soldiers are interred.

You now near the end of Joan’s mortal journey as you travel to the city of Rouen, the capital of the once British-controlled region of Normandy. It’s here where she was put on trial for heresy and burned at the stake soon after. The old Archbishop’s palace now houses the Historical Jeanne d’Arc, a multimedia exhibition that details Joan’s life and the events leading to her involvement in the Hundred Year’s War. The keep from the castle where Joan was imprisoned, now known as the Tour Jeanne d’Arc, still stands today as a reminder of her unwavering faith and constant bravery.

You’ll also be taken to the sight where she was said to be burned at the stake, which now features the Church of St. Joan of Arc. This stunning boat-shaped monument, which was completed in 1979, features a series of gorgeous stained-glass windows that depict the lives of Christ and Saints Peter, Anne, and Anthony of Padua. Many have also noted that its outer design invokes the flames that killed Joan in 1431.

Finally, your day will end by taking a cruise along the river Seine, where Joan’s ashes were scattered after her death. You’ll reflect on this woman’s short life as you look peacefully out onto the water, remembering all that she accomplished and knowing how she was vindicated and celebrated far too late.

Your last full day will be spent in Paris, where you’ll learn of all the steps that were taken after her death to clear her name and bring her into sainthood. It began the moment that King Charles ordered an investigation into her trial in 1449, which led to the Trail for Rehabilitation in November of 1455 and the declaration of her first trial as being invalid. While several important cities played a role in this trial, it was Paris that truly kickstarted it.

As you visit Notre Dame de Paris, you’ll see the same artwork that inspired Joan on her mission and note that she has now joined these depicted saints in this incredible fortress. Her statue can now be found inside the cathedral. You’ll also pay a visit to Cathédrale Sacré-Coeur, which also showcases her likeness next to one of the saints that she sought counsel from the Archangel Michael. And finally, at Rue de Rivoli, an exquisite golden statue of Joan on horseback is on display for all to admire.

Your journey has finally come to an end, and it’s time to head out to the airport. As you fly back home, you’ll think back on all the time you’ve spent walking in Joan’s footsteps and all that you’ve now learned about her short yet remarkable life.

From her beginnings as a peasant girl, Joan of Arc relied on her faith to become a heroine of France during the Hundred Years War. Centuries later, she is now a cultural icon and one of the most revered saints in Roman Catholicism. On this ten-day Women’s Studies tour, you’ll uncover all the major events of Joan’s short yet remarkable life. From her birth and upbringing to her mission to free France to her tragic death and redemption.


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