What you are about to read is a retelling of my first major Paris History Mystery and the forgotten Paris landmark that no one seemed to know was missing.. Until me!
It’s a bit of a long tale so I’m cutting it into 4 parts. Today I’m going to introduce you to the woman behind the legend. JOAN.OF.MOTHERFUCKING.ARC! The more I research her, the more intrigued I am to understand this woman, this teenager- who rose from nothing and yet found herself at the head of an army with a king at her shoulder and saints at her back, all before her cruel demise at the age of 19. (What were you doing at 19? I’m pretty sure I was still stealing my parents booze to go get drunk and passout in cornfields with my friends)
What do you know of Joan? In part 1 of this series, I will give you my unique version of her unofficial biography. Let’s go back to Domrémy, France in the year 1412. (608 YEARS AGO MY FRIENDS) Domrémy is in the middle of Buttfuck, France; about 4 hours by car north east of Paris. A girl is born to a farmer and his wife during the time known as the 100 Years War, when England and France brutally fought for control of the Kingdom of France.
We all know medieval wartime Europe was bleak AF, and this was especially true for this region of France, which was just SHIT UPON by the English. Les anglais were big fans of the warfare tactic known as Chevauchée; which basically consisted of PILAGING, BURNING, and RAPING anything and anyone that came into their paths without pity or remorse. The French people were in such dire straights already; the plague had just nearly polished off a whole generation of people and their sovereign, King Charles VI was bat shit bananas. (Or paranoid schizophrenic).
But there had been a prophecy floating around that a savoir, in the form of a virgin in original factory condition, from the borders of Lorraine, (DOMREMY DOMREMY) would save France from the English. Here comes JOANNIE!
Joan claimed to have had her first visions in 1425 in her father’s garden. She said she spoke with 3 angels; Saint Margaret, Saint Catherine, and TOP CHEF BOSS ANGEL Saint Michael, who told her she had been chosen by GOD to drive out the English from France, bring Charles VII (son of looney King Charles VI) to Reims to be crowned, and accompany Jimmy Buffet on backup vocals during his last “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” World Wide Tour before he kicks the bucket. God loves margaritas!
Without going into too much detail about her campaign, this peasant girl was able to gather followers, get an audience with the king, convince the king she was the real deal, convince the whole army she was the real deal, and then lead them through varies victories where they did not have the upper hand, all while sporting a really butch lookin’ bob hair cut. To top it all off, she brought Charles VII to Reims and put a crown on his head like the boss bitch that she was.
Unfortunately that was about where she peaked, and despite begging Charlie to follow God/her advice, she lost favor with the king and was eventually sold out to the English who put her on trial for a variety of bullshit charges (one of which was cross dressing). Joan was barely 19 when she was burned at the stake in Rouen, 30 May 1431. Reading about Joan, I found myself wondering how she could have accomplished so much given her limited background.
Let this sink in; Joan was an illiterate peasant girl who grow up on a farm- she had no books or Instagram to put silly ideas into her delicate little female head. Whether she saw angels or not, there was something extraordinary pushing Joan to get to the head of the French army. She learned to fight while wearing armor, ride a horse, command soldiers, and somehow convince an army of men to follow her (forbidding them to swear, be intoxicated, and sleep with hookers) and BELIEVE in her and her mission. She was wounded by a GOD DAMN crossbow during the battle of Les Tourelles and she literally pulled the arrow out of her thigh and WENT BACK TO FIGHT hours later!
Was she guided by angels? I don’t know but I believe 100% that SHE knew herself to be under their influence. In part 2 I’ll talk more about Joan and the Siege of Paris and I’ll reveal what mysterious landmark is hidden behind the door at 15 rue Richelieu in the heart of Paris.. stay tuned!