During the hundred years war between France and Britain, a young 17 year old girl claimed that she heard the voice of God who told her that she would be the one to save France in this war.
Of course this young girl was Joan of Arc or her real name is Jeanne D’Arc as she is French.
Jeanne D’Arc traveled around France gathering an army to fight against the British who were close to conquering France and taking over. Imagine if there was no France today…if there was no Jeanne D’Arc, this may have been the case.
At the time, there was no king in France. In order to help save France, Jeanne knew that she had to persuade the very, very young Charles VII (the son of the previous king) to take the throne. She traveled to see him and she did end up persuading him to take this position.
In order for him to be crowned king, they needed to travel to the cathedral in Reims where the kings of the time were crowned. And that is how Joan of Arc has major history in Reims.
They made their way to the cathedral in Reims where Charles VII was crowned king and was able to unite France to a victory. Unfortunately the French clergy (very corrupt at the time) had bribes with the British and wanted to prevent Jeanne from being victorious. Even though they knew otherwise, they tried her as a witch. Again, this was solely for political reasons and not because they thought she was a witch. Charles VII could have stopped them from doing so but was too young and naive to make such a decision.
Only 25 years after her death, the catholic church examined that trial and pronounced her innocence as well as pronouncing her a saint.
Every year, Reims holds a weekend long festival to celebrate Jeanne D’Arc coming to Reims with Charles VII.
This festival begins with a celebration inside the cathedral with the bishop. It continues with a massive exhibition on the cathedral front grounds. There were what seems like hundreds of booths displaying something quite interesting, for example, one booth will show how to carve leather and another how to spin wool. A booth laid out all the traditional dishes of the time while another one laid out the battle gear. Everyone working there was dressed in authentic costume and each booth was made out of cloth and wood. All very realistic.
There were shows as well. We attended the impressive birds of prey show where a bird trainer displayed tricks and told facts about five birds of prey. There were also tricks on horses and a few other shows.
On Sunday a grand parade including 800 costumed performers marched there way through Reims and ended up in the Cathedral for a show.
This whole idea that Joan of Arc, as in the Joan of Arc, was here in Reims, really blew my mind!
And I will leave you with this incredibly cute photo…