Reims, Festival of Joan of Arc

Festival of Joan of Arc
Les Fêtes Johanniques
Reims (Champagne-Ardenne region)

Geographical, cultural and historical context

Reims is located in the Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine region of France, at about 130 km from Paris, and, along with Épernay and Ay, is the home of Champagne wine with the largest champagne-producing houses, known as “les grandes marques”, being headquartered there. According to the legend, Reims was founded by Remus, Romulus’ brother who founded the ancient Rome, making therefore the Celtic tribe who colonized the territory take the name of Remes for their settlement. The city flourished then during the Roman Empire, and became the capital of the province of Gallia Belgica and the most populated Gallo-roman city North of the Alps with about 30.000 inhabitants at its heyday. Today Reims boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage from antiquity to the Art Deco period, including Gallo-Roman and medieval monuments, museums of the two World Wars, and the worldwide famous 13th century Cathedral of Notre-Dame, that has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites as one of the major creations of Gothic art in Europe.

Reims played also a key role in the history of the French monarchy having been for about 1000 years the traditional site of the crowning of the kings of France, thus being known also as the “City of Coronations”. The most memorable one was the coronation of Charles VII on July 17, 1429 AD, right after the lifting of the siege of Orleans by Joan d’Arc (1412-1431 AD) and thanks to her many other decisive military victories during the Hundred Years' War. Joan was born to a humble and pious peasant family in a little village in France in 1412. At that time France was engaged in a long-lasting war with England and its ally Burgundy: the "Hundred Years’ War", which was lit by an inheritance dispute over the French throne. After the defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, 1415 AD, France was at its lowest point, being partly occupied by the English army and disputed by the Armagnac and Burgundian parties. At age 13 Joan had visions of St. Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch telling her to help Charles VII to reconquer his kingdom. Joan managed to speak to Charles, and at age 17 she was given a small army, which she led from one battle to another achieving success after success.


Event description and programme

Every year in Summer Reims returns to the Middle Ages to celebrate Joan of Arc and commemorate the coronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims. The annual Festival, the Fêtes Johanniques, one of the greatest historical events in France, takes place in June in downtown Reims, around the cathedral. For a weekend the whole city goes back in time, offering to the visitors a rich programme featuring historical parades, a medieval village and market with more than 130 artisans in period costume, living history displays at the historical camps, where the visitors can experience knights’ combats, falconry displays, equestrian games, chivalry tournament, spectacular fire shows, music and theatre performances, crafts workshops, historical cuisine, and a real wealth of other leisure and educational activities and animations. The event culminates with the magnificent procession reenacting the triumphant arrival of Joan of Arc in Reims, and the coronation of Charles VII: thousands of interpreters in faithful replicas of period clothes and reenactors from the best historical groups from all over France accompany Joan and the King to the Reims Cathedral.

Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.

Info & Contact

Reims en Fêtes
Address: 95, Bld du Général Leclerc, 51100 Reims, Champagne-Ardenne region, France
Tel.: +33 326824566 | Fax: +33 326066522

Reims City Council
Address: Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, Reims, France
Tel.: +33 (0)3 26777879
E-mail: see online form

Reims Tourist office
Office de Tourisme de l’Agglomération de Reims
Address: 6, rue Rockefeller, 51100 Reims, France
Tel.: +33 (0)3 26774500

Image: Reims en Fêtes
Text: Reims City Coucil, Reims Tourism, Wikipedia, Maid of Heaven


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