Vaucouleurs takes its name from the Latin name Vallis Colorum: the Valley of Colours. Located in the south-east of the département of the Meuse, bordering the Vosges to the south and the Meurthe and Moselle to the East, the canton of Vaucouleurs is centred on the Meuse valley. Its villages have kept their typical Lorraine character, with their "usoirs" (front yards on the street) and traditional living areas.
From the Gallo-Roman period, there was an amphitheatre on a hill overlooking the valley, but it was in the 15th century with Joan of Arc that Vaucouleurs took its place in history. In May 1428, Joan of Arc came and found Robert de Baudricourt here to ask him to take her to Chinon to meet Charles VIII. On 13th May 1428, Joan of Arc entered the chateau for the first time, to ask for an escort to go to Chinon. Baudricourt did not give in until her third request, and on 23rd February 1429, she was finally able to leave. The inhabitants of Vaucouleurs forged a sword for her that Baudricourt gave her with a letter of accreditation to give to the Dauphin on her arrival.
Places that were part of the extraordinary adventure of the little Lorraine shepherdess still remain: Domrémy, where she was born, Bermont, where she prayed, and Vaucouleurs, where there are some major sites, including the Porte de France gate and the museum dedicated to the heroine.
The Museum at Vaucouleurs contains imagery of the Saint through history. In the castle chapel, you will see an original crypt and the 14th-century statue of Our Lady of the Vaults before which Joan meditated. There are fine stained glass windows recounting Joan's life. On the high altar, there is a fine statue of Joan from 1945, created by Maxime Réal del Sarte.
The Town Hall was built in 1848, and has a remarkable picture inside, created in 1886 by Scherrer, measuring 4.2m by 3.2m, portraying Joan's departure from the town, and also 6 Aubusson tapestries from 1990 portraying Joan's epic story.
Opposite the Town Hall on the square is an equestrian statue of Joan from 1939. Erected in Algeria in 1951, it was brought to France and given to the town of Vaucouleurs in 1962.
Created in 1995, the Joan of Arc Circuit, open to travellers using transport of all kinds, offers 80km of routes charged with history. You will find the house where Joan of Arc was born, the chapel of Bermont where she came to meditate, Montigny-lès-Vaucouleurs where she bought her horse, Vouthon, where her mother Isabelle Romée was born, and of course Vaucouleurs, "the town that armed Joan of Arc".
Duration: 2 days - accommodation available in a hiking hostel or hotel.
Every year in June, Vaucouleurs hosts the Festival des Couleurs du Cirque (Festival of Circus Colours).