Sprawled along the River Seine is Normandy’s vibrant capital city of Rouen, that is one of France’s greatest ports. Steeped in medieval history, Rouen’s streets have borne witness to numerous historical figures such as William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart and Joan of Arc who was tried, convicted and burned at the stake on-site in 1431. [See our previous blog post for a pictorial look at Rouen Cathedral (La Cathédrale primatiale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption de Rouen), that is one of the most impressive Gothic churches ever built.]
Le palais de justice de Rouen (the Palace of Justice, or the Rouen Courthouse) is the former Normandy Exchequer and was built in Rouen, France, in the Gothic architectural style, from the late 15th century (with extensive 20th century reconstructions after being bombed in World War II). The building served as the Parliament of Normandy under Francois I in 1515. Since the French Revolution, the building has housed the Rouen courthouse and has been classified as a French historical monument since 1840. Under the stairs to the right of the courtyard a Jewish yeshiva (rabbinical school) was discovered, with a lion of Judah carved and the inscription, “Let this house be sublime!”.
Joan of Arc, nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans”, is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War, and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. Joan said she received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orleans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory. On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiegne by the Burgundia faction, which was allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age. In 1456, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr.” — Wikipedia