Visiting the birthplace of Jeanne may not be the only purpose to visit Lorraine; I show here a few pictures of the countryside at end of spring; the low hills the valleys, the Meuse River are quite picturesque and represent what physical geography books of my childhood told when I was at primary school! The Meuse is here a small river (picture 2), before it becomes the powerful stream which joins the Rhine in Nederland. Fields, cattle, woods on the hills (picture 3), small villages hidden behind the trees (picture 4), wide views from the hills (picture 5), this is Lorraine. . . . A road trip on the small roads of Lorraine is quite relaxing. . . .
The inside of the basilica is something I would call a display of nationalist militarism “holyfied” by the Roman Catholic church, as this statue exemplifies (picture 1), where on the pedestal, the title of the tip is written (. . . dead for the homeland).
This chapel is not exactly an architectural marvel and the décor inside has not a real style to me, and besides the many paints of Jeanne (picture 2), you can see giant paints depicting the life of Jeanne, from the time when she heard the voices (picture 3) to the time she died on the stake in Rouen, through the important events of her life, like her entrance in Orleans (picture 4); there are eight giant paints.
Of course she was commissioned by God, and it is recalled in the cupola ceiling paint above the altar (picture 5).
Well, I passed by, so I had a stop at Jeanne’s place. . . . These religion-nationalism-militarism things are very (really very) far from my way to look at the world and history, but it is fascinating in some way, impressive to see how history can be written (with true(more or less) facts); I was interested to see this place where a French myth was born.
Le Bois Chenu (could be translated in oak wood, but also old wood, or bald wood. . . ) is the place where Jeanne went at night to listen to the Angels, and in the nineteenth century a chapel (now a basilica) has been erected there.
You can see this basilica from far at the feet of a woods covered hill (picture 1); it is a rather modest church where the slim bell tower dominates the area (picture 2).
When you arrive at the basilica, you are welcomed by the “accueil du pelerin” (the pilgrim’s welcome) (picture 3), a restaurant which was crowded with pilgrims (probably), which has also a souvenir shop, but I did not spend time there.
You noticed the statue of Jeanne in the previous picture, and there are more of her or her family, like this one (picture 4), representing her father.
Take a walk around the basilica, and you will find a strange cemetery (picture 5) where the priests and other people who had served in the basilica have their tombs. Some people say they feel the “holy” spirit of the place, but I must be unsensitive, in some way, I did not feel it. . . . . I found more interesting to visit the basilica inside (Next tip).
After all these religious souvenirs you certainly may want to recover with a drink, or even a lunch; at least, I did so, and in the village of Domremy is a small restaurant named “La table de Jehanne” (Jeanne’s table).
The restaurant room is small but cosy modern, the food not exceptional, but good, and the owners were quite welcoming and cheery!
I had a good lunch for 25 Euros; I only remember the desert I had: cottage cheese with Mirabelle coulis; mirabelle is a local small yellow plum.
Next to the restaurant is a museum I did not visit: it looked more like a souvenir shop than a museum. . .