Six or so years ago now, I cycled across France. One of my longest cycle days ended with me in Orléans, a luscious mid-sized town on the banks of the Loire River.
At the time, I didn’t know it, but this cute little riot of typical French architecture and pockets of green is possibly the most important town in the Jeanne d’Arc story. The place she liberated, proving to many that she was, as she said, sent from God to free “France” from English tyranny. (Now, was it really France she freed or was the war between two French factions, once of which happened to ally with the English? But I digress. She said France, so we say France in common conversation.)
If you know me, you know that any mention of women in history is going to get my attention. So you won’t be surprised that when I had another chance to visit the Loire Valley, off to Orléans I went for history tours and visits to libraries and strolls through the streets where France’s patron saint walked.
Here’s a snapshot of those strolls: