Friday, April 29, 2011

Fêtes de Jeanne d'Arc

Today marks the opening of the annual Joan of Arc festival in Orléans. The festivities honor the French girl known for liberating the French from the English in 1429. Each year, a young girl from the area is chosen to serve as "Joan" for the event, which concludes on May 8th, the date Joan managed to create an important turning point for the French in the Hundred Years' War.

This statue was erected under the reign of Napoleon the Third on May 8, 1855. It was damaged in World War Two, partly by celebrating American troops when Orléans was liberated in August 1944. According to an elderly French man who took me on a personal, impromptu tour of the city one day a few months ago (what a sweet man!), the American troops broke off Joan's sword during their joyous arrival...

The statue was renovated in 1950, thanks to donations from the people of New Orleans, Louisiana.

tags: Orléans history, WWII

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