Compiegne – Joanies Last Stand

Good try Joanie

More photos of Compiegne, France at The Habitual Runaway on Facebook.

We drove off, feeling terrible about abandoning our hitch-hiker. We decided we had to stop in the next town as our guilt would not allow us to head straight into Paris after the ‘hitcher ditch’.

Thankfully for us, the next town happened to be ‘Ville de Compiegne‘ on the River Oise.

I thought I had never heard of Compiegne France, but as it would turn out I had – as have most of you. A major part of the history of Compiegne involves my favourite gal, Joan of Arc.

She was born a peasant girl in eastern France in 1412, and claimed to have heard the voice of God telling her how to lead the French army to victory. Many times over she would do exactly that, before being sold to the English and burned at the stake by age 19.

It was Compiegne where beloved Joan was captured while trying to aid in fighting off the Burgundians. It was they who gave up Joanie to the English. From;

In the market-place at Rouen the English soldiers fastened her to a stake surrounded by a great pile of fagots. A soldier put into her hands a rough cross, which he had made from a stick that he held. She thanked him and pressed it to her bosom. Then a priest, standing near the stake, read to her the prayers for the dying, and another mounted the fagots and held towards her a crucifix, which she clasped with both hands and kissed. When the cruel flames burst out around her, the noble girl uttered the word “Jesus,” and expired.

A fantastic statue of a victorious Joan stands in the centre of town – in front of the beautiful and unusual (check out the windows and door centre, front), Place de l’Hôtel de Ville.

Hotel de Ville

Compiegne has preserved much of its historical architecture, which made for a memorable afternoon photo walk. The brilliant blue skies, sunshine and warmth probably helped too.

I thought it was interesting that the stop signs here (in France) were English, but are French in Quebec (and parts of Ontario) Canada, where our first language is English.

Eglise St. Jacques

We came upon Eglise St. Jacques, a grandiose, ornate stained glass domicile of veneration. If we had planned a bit ahead (or thought we would be here at all), I would have made sure to visit.

It looks well worth the time, judging by the gorgeous 360 views offered here.

The Door in the Wall

Much of Compiegne retains its medieval wall. We spent a few hours walking the narrow cobblestone streets within the enclosure, like nerds photographing each entry/exit tunnel we passed, taking note of the tiny doorways throughout.

And then we found the moat. DD (the husband) turns to me excitedly and says;

Wife! This is my first moat!

He stood at the wall for quite a few minutes, looking down into the old moat, appreciating the historical magnitude of it, imagining what it must have been like back when it was still in use.

Really, it looked like a movie set – the perfect aged stone, creeping vibrant green vines – it just didn’t look ‘real’.

Looking at the moat

I know that has everything to do with being Canadian, where we have but two young ‘castles’ both built by wealthy foreigners – Casa Loma in Toronto, and Craigdarroch in Victoria.

Craigdarroch isn’t even technically a castle, but we are still proud of it and treat it like one!

The history of this beguiling region of France is worthy of more exploration – have you heard about the ‘forest of Compiegne‘?

After hours of walking and as evening commenced, we decided it was time to head to our little rental car and (finally) make our way to Paris.

Additional photos in the slideshow.

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You can follow this trip by heading to the ‘8 Country EU Tour‘ section, and you can enjoy many more photos of France by heading to the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.


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3 responses to “Compiegne – Joanies Last Stand

  1. Yes – Joanie was some Gal wasn’t she! Such belief and bravery .

    LOL @ ‘ like nerds photographing each entry/exit tunnel we passed, ‘


  2. Have you been to Rouen? There is a modern and very beautiful church on the site where Joan was burned. It is lovely and I said to my husband when we were there that I thought Joan would have approved of its simple style and calm interior.


    • I have not been to Rouen – but certainly I would love to see where Joan spent her last moments – such a beautiful way to think of it =)


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