June 06, 2007

Joan of Arc

You can find this statue of Joan of Arc quite close to the Louvre, Place des Pyramides.


May 30, 676 years ago (in 1431), the English had her burnt at the stake in Rouen (and the French have not forgotten!!), at the age of 19. She is clearly one of the legendary French heroines and her memory is frequently used – and sometimes misused. She was canonized in 1920.

A lot has been written and said about her, including by the greatest authors (Shakespeare, Voltaire, Schiller, Twain, Shaw…), composers (Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Brecht…) and there are some famous films (by Dreyer, Fleming - starring Ingrid Bergman, Rosselini - again starring Ingrid Bergman, Preminger…). I guess you all know her story, so I’m not going to recall it here.

Maybe just a few “details”:

A retrial was authorized by the then Pope and Joan’s innocence was declared in 1456, 25 years after her death.

The model for the statue (dated 1874) was a young girl, born at the same place as Joan, the same date of the year as Joan, and she died, accidentally burnt, at the same date of the year as Joan (at the age of 77).

I have had a few (heavy) lunches in what is supposed to be the oldest, still existing, French restaurant, La Couronne, situated on the central place of Rouen where she was burnt. It was founded in 1345, 86 years before she was burnt. The restaurant is worth a visit, but you must be hungry; the traditional dishes are heavy.

23 comments:

Keshi said...

I really didnt think French dishes were heavy at all...nice to know that tho :)

Keshi.

black feline said...

she was ahead of her time..either she was very brave or she was really the chosen one...i admire her very much!

Olivier said...

notre pucelle à nous français.cette statue est superbe (meme si malheureusement elle sert de symbole pour un certain parti politique ;o( )

Cergie said...

Jeanne d'Arc était lorraine ! comme moi !
Alors nous avions une statue en bronze et je l'avais frottée pour qu'elle brille comme cette statue (j'étais enfant) et mon père a râlé car il a dit que c'était la patine et que brillant c'étit moche
Une de mes nièces s'appelle Jeanne, c'est elle qui a la statue et depuis le temps elle a retrouvé sa fameuse patine

A St Valéry sur somme (tu sais, là où Degas serait mort), j'ai photographié une porte sous laquelle elle est passée en tant queprisonnière. Je ne l'ai jamais publiée
Tiens, c'était juste il y a un an que j'ai pris cette photo.

Shionge said...

I would love to switch places with you Peter......snapping lovely pictures and blogging it to us :)

Hmmm...I must have missed her during my last visit but glad to discover this here :D

alice said...

Je n'aime pas trop cet endroit: je me suis trouvée nez à nez avec les sympathisants de Le Pen un Ier mai, depuis j'y pense à chaque fois que je traverse la place et je ne me sens pas à l'aise...

catherine said...

oui c'est un symbole assez ambivalent : récupérée par les partis politiques les plus réactionnaires....
"Choisie par Dieu" : laissez moi douter....
cela dit c'est un des personnages fondateurs de la culture française.
PS : 'jai changé d'adresse blog !
http://www.lavieinvisible.fr/photoblog/index.php

Abraham Lincoln said...

I saw a film about this young lady and there was a similar story about her life on television and I got to see that. I cannot recall ever reading a book about her life but I will have to look into that.

I like your photographs of her statue and your narrative is interesting to read.

Is there anyone in France today who can move the people of France like she did?

Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting there.

Abraham Lincoln
Today I show Two robins fighting and I managed to capture them in the act.
Brookville Daily Photo

isabella said...

HA! I'm waiting for Chuckroon to respond - that was a blatant provocation, Peter ;-)

I had the pleasure (?) of dinning at La Courrone - was not impressed...The statue did impress, however.

Glenn Standish said...

What a legend! What a photo! What lovely gold! Greetings from Toruń!

krystyna said...

Hi Peter!
Thanks for this great photos and your new information. I didn't know who was the model for this beautiful statue.
Peace be with you!

Nathalie said...

Du doré, du patriote, du franco-français, du religieux qui incite à la guerre, tout ça ce n'est pas pour moi. Je passe mon chemin...

(bon, j'ai choisi exprès un commentaire décalé. Je n'allais pas dire "belle photo, beau cheval, grande dame", quand même hein ?)

Peter said...

Some genereal remarks:

"Peace be with you" says Krystyna.

I understand that today should be some kind of international peace day and in that respect the date for this subject was perhaps not the best.

In my accompanying text I said that she as symbol often has been misused. I did not go into any more details, but some of your comments refer to ultra-conservative political misuse and that is what I wished to refer to. I completely disagree with this misuse. Especially one political party (FN - Le Pen) has tried to "steal" her as a symbol.

Ash said...

Interesting titbit about the model for the statue. Bizzarre coincidence?

Peter said...

Some more detaild comments:

Abraham:
Good question and I presume that there is a hidden question behind. You believe that France would need some kind of new Joan and wonder who that could be.
To start with, fortunately we are not in war in our part of the world as was the case when Joan took actions. Also, we can clearly not compare our present leaders with Joan. Whether you voted for Sarkozy or not (I have no voting right) can we all agree that we should give him a chance? This seems today to be the opinion of many Frenchmen, whether right or left or in the middle.

Nathalie:
I understand your strong feeling and I trust that you understand that my meaning was not to make this to any kind of "Vive la France"-message. That one political party (Le Pen) has tried to misuse the symbol is one thing. Apart from that I don't think that French people in general see her any more as a symbol for war and nationalism, but rather as someone who stood up and defended the for that period valid values and rights. This was in the 15th century, not today.

Isabella:
I'm sorry if you were disappointed with your meals at la Couronne. My experience is from a number of years back and I believe that I was then quite happy the quality, only that it was a bit "too much" if you followed the traditional menu.

delphinium said...

Tant mieux si les plats sont chargés, j'ai faim. :-)

lyliane said...

Qu'elle est belle en doré notre Jehanne Nationale.
Il y a quelques années promenant des Anglais à Paris, en passant devant la statue je leur ai fait remarqué que:" c'était les anglais qui l'avait brûlée, et le soir, c'était pendant la guerre des Malouines, je les emmène dans un restaurant Argentin! Que des gaffes ce jour là!!..

April said...

The 'golden girl', how beautiful. Next time in Paris I want to see her.

MONA said...

the story of Joan of Arc always saddens me...There is so much poignance about it...

Drama Div@ said...

I wonder what I would have done. Thanks to you for sharing. I know very little about Joan of Arc.

richard said...

Interesting post Peter and nice photos. Coincidentally Melvyn Bragg on the BBC had a recent radio programme about the Siege of Orleans. He does a weekly cultural discussion thing - it's all archived and available as downloads or feeds. Some are better than otghers, but it's quite wide ranging. The Orelans one is here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20070524.shtml

ruth said...

I like how the Catholic church quietly forgives people after they've killed or condemned them. No wish to offend any Catholics out there. I think they're better than in centuries past. I posted today at my Synchronizing blog about whether some things should not be forgiven.

I'm enjoying our walk down rue de Rivoli!

Anonymous said...

Have you been to MaidofHeaven.com Everything about Joan of Arc.