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Visiting the Medieval Château at Jaulny, France: Where "Joan of Arc" Is Supposed to Have Lived After Her "Death"

Updated on April 19, 2019
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
 Château de Jaulny
Château de Jaulny | Source

Why spoil a good story with facts?

Jaulny's medieval Château, situated in eastern France's Meurthe-et-Moselle department in the historic French region of Lorraine, had a secret. Secrets have by nature an aspect which is hidden and an aspect which is revealed. The word 'le secret' in French can also be translated 'confidentiality' (and is often used in reference to the deliberations of examining magistrates). The word can sometimes give rise to many profound deliberations...

But first to the medieval Château de Jaulny. According to records, the Château — or an original Château — dates at least from 1060. The existing Château is situated on a rise about the village of Jaulny, and it is a museum in its own right, receiving regular visitors. The Château has been listed by the French Ministry of Culture as an historic monument. The current structure mainly dates from the 16th century, with earlier stonework, as do its ramparts; some additions were made in the 18th century (1).

The Château has a particular story associated with it, namely, that Joan of Arc (c.1412-1431), about whom French people are familiar as the young woman, the daughter of the King of France who was burnt at the stake by the English at Rouen, supposedly lived at the Château de Jaulny after she "died" at Rouen. This "Joan of Arc", then, deemed to be the real Joan of Arc, was known when she lived at the Château de Jaulny as Jeanne des Armoises (2), with her husband Robert des Armoises. Or so the story goes; and, seemingly reinforce it, a portrait — supposedly dating from the 16th century — of Jeanne d'Armoises, together with the arms of Joan of Arc, can be seen at the Château de Jaulny by visitors today.

Interestingly, there are various legends in existence in France about the presence of "Joan of Arc" in different places after the person called "Joan of Arc" — deemed to have been a substitute — was burnt at the stake at Rouen.

So then the real Joan of Arc and her death at Rouen in 1431 has been more or less part of official French historiography; part of French nationalist feeling informed by a sense of inherited indignation against the English, and so forth.

And so in the early 19th century Joan of Arc was declared (by Napoleon I) to be a symbol of France (at a time when France was again at war with England), and in the early 20th century was beatified (after the Franco-Prussian War, at a time when part of Joan of Arc's native province of Lorraine was occupied by the German Empire), and later canonized. One wonders what happened between the 1400s and the 19th and 20th centuries in order for the claimed political and religious overtones of what occurred centuries previously to coalesce in curious way.

Thus, the "Joan of Arc" who lived at the Château de Jaulny after the real Joan of Arc was deemed to have "died" at Rouen was the cause of a legend which has persisted.

But within the story of the real Joan of Arc, something of a legend seems to have developed also.

Perhaps there lies more light yet to be revealed both about the secret of the legendary "Joan of Arc" and about the secret of the legend of the real Joan of Arc also?

Perhaps the word 'secret' — understood in its sense 'confidentiality' — ought to be stretched a little further to mean 'confidence trick'? Strict translation might not warrant it, but it would also make a good story, which need not be spoiled with facts...(What do you think?)

April 20, 2019


(1) See also (in French):

(2) Sometimes also given as Claude des Armoises.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Portrait of Joan of Arc
Portrait of Joan of Arc | Source

Also worth seeing

In Metz (distance: 32.8 kilometres) the Cathedral of St.Etienne is an impressive Medieval building in Gothic style. The Temple Neuf (New [Protestant]), situated on an island in one of the Moselle River channels, dates from the period of German annexation, prior to World War 1.

Nancy (distance: 51 kilometres) has the architecturally outstanding 18th century place Stanislas (Stanislas square), dating from a period when the city was not yet part of France, but ruled by the Duke of Lorraine.

Lac de Madine (distance: 15 kilometres) is an extensive, artificial lake with a surface area of 11 square kilometres, with sizeable recreational and sailing opportunities.

Audun-le-Tiche (distance: 68 kilometres); this town situated on the border of Luxembourg has a Merovingian necropolis museum.

Luxembourg City , Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (distance: 88 kilometres) Included among the numerous visitor attractions of this city are the Adolphe bridge over the Pétrusse valley, the Cathedral, and the Grand Ducal palace.

Nennig , Germany (distance: 91 kilometres); situated on the Moselle River , Nennig has remains of a Roman villa, with a well preserved mosaic.


How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Paris (Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle; distance from Jaulny: 302 kilometres), where car rental is available. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map location of Meurthe-et-Moselle department, France
Map location of Meurthe-et-Moselle department, France | Source

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