Our teaching contracts ended April 30th, but we decided to stick around so we could see the Joan of Arc Festival, a yearly event honoring the young maiden who liberated Orléans from the English after she started hearing God's voice telling her to go to war. As you may know, she was eventually burned at the stake for being a witch and wearing men's clothing, but in Orléans she's very much remembered. Joan of Arc
Every year for ten days, a young high school girl from Orléans is chosen to portray Joan of Arc. They dress her up in armor, put her on a horse, and parade her around town. There was also a sound and light show right outside our apartment which gave the history of the English invasion and Joan's rise to fame. Sound and light show outside our apartment
One day there was a provincial parade, in which different cultural regions of France displayed their local dances, songs, and costumes.There was also a military parade, a medieval market, and yet another sound and light show, this one projected onto the cathedral. It was actually kind of impressive! Andrew's favorite activity was watching the jousts and sword-fights, which were much more realistic than any other Ren Faire I've seen.
Andrew also reaffirmed his desire to own an Irish Wolfhound one day, even after hearing that they eat about 2.5 lbs. of food a day. We also ate ostrich from a spit. Yum.
Our last week in Orléans was a whirlwind of activity, between visiting the festival, saying goodbye to friends, and packing our lugagge. My friend Sandrine took us to Beaugency for a huge fair on the 1st of May. Her son Léo played on the rides and I ooohed over the tiny poultry they had for sale.
Sandrine and Alex
On May 10th, we packed up our things and left Orléans for the last time. I really loved this city, and I'm so happy I got to live there for seven months. I hope someday to come back.
Pierre and Catherine, with whom we stayed during the Festival