If you haven’t read PART 1 or 2, cease reading! Go back and catch up before continuing….
RECAP! I’ve encountered a dead end on the first step of my hunt for the mythical mosaic of Joan of Arc attempting to breech the walls of Paris before she got kebab’d by a crossbow. AAAIIIEEE!
The mosaic depicted in the photo which I found from some random website I stumbled across is gone. That means I have a HISTORY MYSTERY to solve. And being the stubborn SOB that I am, I’m ready to do a little sleuthing. But where do I start?
1. Am I in the right place? I compare the printout from the website to the courtyard in front of me. It’s been updated for sure, but no doubt about it- this is the place. Again I go back and I wait outside the locked entry, hoping a resident will either come or go, and tell me where I can find the mosaic. This is not as easy nor as quick as I hoped. I wait about 30 minutes, springing myself upon the first 2 people that enter the door. Neither of them have ever seen the mosaic and are visibly disturbed at the desperation of the sweaty crazy lady in their courtyard until I show them the printout.
The online website paris-autrement.paris where I first found this mosaic was dated the 29th of January 2013 so it was removed sometime between then and now; in this time span of 7 years, SOMEONE must know what happened right? These people don’t and I’m disappointed that they don’t even really seem to care. While I didn’t find what I was looking for, I’m still tickled to be at the very spot where the Badass/Saintly Joan of Arc was injured during her mission from God. Could it be that I am on a mission from God as well?
2. I send a message to the website Paris Autrement asking them if they are aware of the mosaic whereabouts. I receive a response a week later that assured me the mosaic was there, and the writer had seen it in 2013. Well OK. I’m on my own I guess! Mosaïque de Jeanne d’Arc blessée au 15 rue de Richelieu – Paris Autrement (paris-autrement.paris)
3. I go to the creators of the mosaic itself in 1987, the High School J .B .Poquelin, which is the building located on the other side of the courtyard, and in fact, it appears that their cafeteria is the window behind the dumpsters. They had a fricken INAUGURATION CEREMONY with the goddamn mayor, someone in this school must have some idea to where it has gone in the past 7 years since the website took the picture right? So I go to the high school. I ring for the guardian (the school doorman) and immediately start out telling them I am a journalist (of Facebook but I left that out) and I’m investigating a mosaic of Joan of Arc that has gone missing from the courtyard of the building on the other side. You know, the one that this very school had the idea to make some 20 years prior. Surely they know of it right? No, they don’t. I show them the article and the photos. The guardian is not enthusiastic to help me. I ask to speak to someone, anyone, a teacher perhaps, one that has been there a few years- but I am shot down. The guardian sighs like he encounters HISTORY MYSTERIES all the time, and tells me to try going to city hall of the 1st arrondissement.
4. I go to city hall and I explain the situation. (Still going with the fake journalist theme) They make copies of the printouts I have of the website explaining the mosaic and pictures of the courtyard. They ask for my business card. This journalist doesn’t have one. They tell me they will get back to me.
5. I make business cards with my information. Instead of journalist, I am now a professional amateur historian.
6. I try to make better use of my time and multi task training for a half marathon and solving HISTORY MYSTERIES at the same time. I decide to stalk the inhabitants again at 15 rue de Richeleau and run there, again waiting outside the entrance around 18H. No one comes. I ask a security guy working the hotel next door if he has ever heard or seen this mosaic. He has no idea what I’m talking about and doesn’t seem to know who Joan of Arc even is.
7. I go back to the school; insisting that I speak with someone. They tell me to leave. So I go back to the city hall. It’s been a month since I went there and no one has responded. (This is normal in Paris. I ask “isn’t there someone like in charge of all things history in this arrondissement? No?” They tell me no one knows of any mosaic. The receptionist sadly tells me it was probably destroyed. I don’t believe her. I continue with my pursuits.
8. I run back to 15 rue de Richeleau during marathon training and FINALLY I have some answers. A resident of the building seems put off when I approach her dripping in sweat and smelling of desperation but she lights up when I show her the mosaic printouts and ask if she knows where it is. She says that the mosaic was taken down when the cafeteria of the high school was renovated a year or two ago. She thinks the Association of Joan of Arc currently has it.9. The Association of Joan of Arc! Well eat my face and call me Jeffrey Dahmer, there’s a JOA ASSOCIATION! I look up the website and find their hours. I go way up to Morodor/northern Paris and am disappointed to see a building that is under heavy construction and clearly not currently the place for the official JOA fanclub. I call the number listed on the website.
10. Monsieur Pierre Maire responds to my call. I tell him I am in front of the JOA Association address, but it looks like nobody’s there. He confirms that they are no longer at that address. I explain my situation and ask if he knows where the mosaic is. He does and tells me that he will send me a picture. I say NOPE I want to see it in real life. He asks me to send him an email explaining everything again and that he will get back to me. And here is where I’ll insert a cliffhanger.
Does she find the mosaic? Does it still exist? Was she arrested for Loitering/Harassment?