|Jeanne d'Arc - Place des Pyramides - Paris - E. Frémiet - 1889|
|This scene looks like something from a Brueghel painting...|
|Place Royale - Reims (with a magpie!)|
For the space of a weekend, Reims, the bourgeois heart of the Champagne-producing region is taken over by a Medieval encampment.
A bawdy Middle-Age crowd invades the streets with their animations, stands and shows.
The key moment of the event is however, the final procession of Joan and her King from the Basilique Saint Remi to the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
|The Medieval jam stand with the testing/tasting pots...|
|A spice girl...|
|A hearty welcome from a Knight Templar...|
|A noble camel|
|A gaggle of geese and a troup of tourists behind...|
This year promised to be even more spectacular as it commemorated the 600th year of the birth of Joan of Arc, and, as always, similar celebrations took place in Orléans and Rouen.
|No Morris Dancers, but there was a Maypole that seemed to leave the younger dancers baffled!|
|Some of the many street musicians...|
Although my loyalty was tested, the choice was made quickly! Sorry Joan…
We ended up watching the washed-out London celebrations on television, instead of those taking place here. In terms of weather, the Grand Cortège des Sacres didn’t seem to fare any better as it poured with rain and seems to have done little else since.
|Place Royale - Reims|
|A Medieval Spike Milligan...|
|One of the poor greygrounds there to show how their treatment probably still hasn't improved since the Middle Ages..|
|View of the cathedral from the Palais du Tau - Reims|
|Tea break on Place Royale...|
|Probably not much chance of the blacksmith getting into that coat of armour...|
|Equestrian show - Place du Forum|
Joan was later captured by the Burgundians near Compiègne and was sold to the English so that they could do as they wished with this ‘heretic’. Her fate was sealed and she died at the stake in Rouen in 1431, aged only 19, yet was to become a folk heroine and a Catholic saint, and the Fête Jeanne d’Arc reflects the continued interest in this cult figure of French history.
|Making chain mail...|
|Herding up the straying locals...|
Of course, Reims has its own statue of Joan of Arc, situated just in front of the cathedral, but whilst she brandishes her sword bravely, her face does not seem to reflect the same bravura and determination as Frémiet’s Jeanne. Not only that, but her sword has fallen victim to acts of vandalism on several occasions, this year included…
|Jeanne d'Arc - Parvis de la Cathédrale - Reims (sword still intact, but not for long..)|
Well the sun has finally come out, and I hope it will do so next year when I fully intend to see the Grand Cortège des Sacres on the Sunday, camera in hand, surrounded by all kinds of Medieval and modern-day magic.
|Display of hunting birds - Place du Forum - Reims|
And no one could possibly forget the haughty expression of those camels!
|A snooty beast 'parked' behind the cathedral - I just love that regal sneer!|