In search of Jeanne d’Arc

A lot of my cycling activities are centered around the childhood of Jeanne d’Arc. The Meuse valley.  This area of France is a topographical puzzle. The borders intertwine in strange ways, you are never sure where you are – it is Meuse of Vosges?

The most eastern province in the medieval France, where the locals were ruled by a complex vassal system where your lord was a servant of a greater Lord who in his turn would be in a relationship with another power.

Both the church and civilian branches played their roles. And the areas of their authority did not match.  For example, Jeanne had to report to Toul, where the ecclesiastical court was held, as a defendant in the case that was brought against her by a man from Neufchateau, which was technically in a different “county”.

The man sued her for a broken marriage promise. In Toul, Jeanne argued her case before the judges and the charge was dismissed.

The Holy Roman Empire was just to the east (and it’s borders were always changing). France was to the west. Was Jeanne even French?







D-Day Beaches, Normandy

9wgo3k8Gold Beach (UK / Canada)

f8ghkbtLow tide

c03gzwjBritish kids on a field trip

dzod01oOne of the two machine guns on the Higgins boat

zizdtnsThe Higgins Landing Boat at Utah Beach (donated by the Higgins family)

vmqasd7Utah Beach


One minute, don’t talk, don’t read, no photos…. Just look  and feel

2017: Following Jeanne d’Arc with 1885 maps


This map is a lucky find of mine, from the 1885 book En suivant Jeanne d’Arc sur les chemins de France. It was shipped to me from Lorient Bretagne of all places (a separate story!)04_zpsbxyrdwts


The maps, with some deviations, follow the same routes as  described by Frances Caddy who travelled them personally on foot and by bicycle the next year, 1886. Her very-well documented account was published in London under the title Footsteps of Jeanne d’Arc: A Pilgrimage.


The print quality is very good.


It is fairly easy to transfer the routes into Google maps and Garmin. The job, however,  is daunting when it comes to actually following them on a bicycle.

Garmin navigation


A Garmin device is too small for my eyes. It has a great battery life and is waterproof, though.

For an orientation in space and time, I’d rather use a phone.


An interesting fact is that there are fewer roads now than 20 years ago. Oftentime, your Garmin urges you to take a shortcut but there is no actual road any more. I try to be good and report every map error.