Learn what they ate, how they kept clean, what they wore, their role in society, their education and status.
|The tomb of Agnes Sorel.|
This one and a half hour introductory tour focuses on the lives of three significant women -- Joan of Arc, Anne of Brittany and Agnes Sorel. Anne and Agnes were typical in many ways, but also extraordinary, through circumstance and personality. And there is no question that Joan was extraordinary through and through. All died young, despite their many priveleges. The tour takes place on the Royal Citadel of Loches, where both Anne and Agnes lived for a time, and Joan visited, in the 15C.
|19C equestrian statue of Joan of Arc in Chinon.|
I will go into the intimate details of their daily life and dispel many of the myths there are about the lives of medieval women. Two of the most pervasive misconceptions are that they had no power, and that they didn't bathe. You will learn the truth about how they navigated in what on the surface appears to be a man's world. Sometimes it's nuanced, sometimes it's the complete opposite of what most people believe today. I have been studying Agnes Sorel for years and although she is not known outside of France she rocks!
|Carved canopy in Anne of Brittany's oratory, Loches.|
*Meet outside the Porte Royale (royal gate) of the Cité Royal (royal citadel), where you will begin by learning more about Joan -- how she came to be here, why she matters, how she changed history, and ultimately, how she was betrayed.
*Visit the Church of Saint Ours, on the Royal Citadel, where you will learn about Agnes Sorel, known as the Lady of Beauty, and King Charles VII's beloved mistress.
*Visit the Logis Royal (Royal Apartments), where you will learn a bit more about Joan and Agnes, and the sad story of Anne of Brittany, Queen of France twice over.
*Afterwards you have the opportunity to explore the lovely medieval town of Loches independently.
|19C facsimile of the proceedings of the trial of Joan of Arc.|
This tour as a whole or partially, can be customized to fit your preferences - please inquire!
|A copy of Agnes Sorel painted as the Madonna breastfeeding by Jehan Fouquet.|
Duration: 1 hour 30 min.
Very occasionally the Church of Saint Ours might not be accessible, in which case we will do the session on Agnes Sorel in the Logis Royal.
|15C Flemish polychrome statuette of St Agnes, Loches.|
This is a walking tour. Some streets on the Royal Citadel are quite steep and there are some steps at the church and the Royal Apartments. No spiral staircases though.
|Costume made for a television programme about Anne of Brittany, based on a known portrait of her.|
Price: €100 for groups of up to 4 people. Admission tickets are not included.
|Tableau depicting the marriage of Anne of Brittany to Charles VIII, Chateau of Langeais.|
Booking: email firstname.lastname@example.org at least one day before you wish to take the tour. Tours can be conducted on any day of the week, throughout the year, at a time to suit you.
|Plaque commemorating the visit of Joan of Arc to Loches.|
About the Guide: I am Susan Walter. I specialise in story telling, the weaving together of this fact and that, this character and their relationship with another. It is a technique which brings alive the history of what is sometimes just stones to look at, but those stones may lead to something wonderfully evocative and provide a better understanding of the past. Much of the history of the Loire Valley is about important characters which you will have heard of, but there is a great deal of hidden history too -- characters who have been forgotten in modern times, motivations for deeds which seem inexplicable can become clear, how different life was then, but also how similar. If you want to know who would graffiti a royal chapel and why, and why it isn't who most guides will tell you it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to know about the history of bathing and personal hygiene, and how that isn't quite what you think it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to meet fascinating characters from history who really made a difference, often women, then take a tour with me.
|19C copy of a bronze bust of Charles VIII, husband of Anne of Brittany.|
English speaking, born and raised in Australia, I lived for 12 years in England, where I worked for the National Trust in their Historic Buildings Conservation Department, and now in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Loire Valley for more than a decade. I am an active heritage and nature conservation professional with experience of working with conservators and curators to care for historic objects and buildings, and with ecologists caring for our natural environment. Deeply embedded in the local scene I speak quite good French and enjoy life in a small village near some fabulous chateaux and lovely countryside. I'm always happy to talk about life in France and am friends with many wine makers and local food producers.
|Tomb of Agnes Sorel, Loches.|