"Send me to Orleans and I will show the sign for which I was sent" Joan of Arc during her examination at Poitiers
Orleans was where Joan of Arc showed her "sign" in May of 1429 by raising the English siege and liberating the town in only three days of fighting. After her great victory at Orleans Joan became forever known as the "Maid of Orleans" and is still loved and remembered by the town of Orleans today. Every year on May 8th, the anniversary of Joan's liberation of the city, they hold a festival to celebrate Joan's victory.
Video of Annual Joan of Arc Festival in Orleans, France
"I have been commanded to do two things on the part of the King of Heaven: one, to raise the siege of Orleans; the other, to conduct the King to Reims for his sacrament and his coronation." Joan describing her mission
The siege of Orleans had begun in the Fall of 1428 and the English thought it would be the last step toward achieving the final conquest of all of France. When Joan arrived at Orleans in late April of 1429 the people of the city were desperate but Joan brought them hope that they would soon be delivered. Jean Dunois the Bastard of Orleans later described how much Joan boosted the moral of the city when she arrived:
"Then Joan came with me, carrying her banner, which was white and on which was the figure of our Lord holding a fleur-de-lis in His hand. And she crossed the river Loire with La Hire and myself, and we entered all together the town of Orleans. These are the reasons why I think that Joan, and all her deeds in war and in battle, were rather God's work than man's: the sudden changing of the wind, I mean, after she had spoken, which gave hope of aid, and the bringing in of the provisions in spite of the English, who were much stronger than the royal army, and the fact, furthermore, that this young girl swore that she had had a vision in which Saint Louis and Saint Charlemagne prayed to God for the safety of the King and of this city."
A merchant in Orleans who witnessed Joan's arrival later stated that she "was received with such great joy by all the inhabitants of both sexes, great and small, that it seemed she was an angel of God. By means of the Maid, they said, we are going at last to escape our enemies." The Journal of the Siege of Orleans (Journal du siege d'Orleans) further describes the great scene of Joan's entry:
"Thus at eight o'clock in the evening, notwithstanding all the English, who in nowise prevented it, she entered fully armed, mounted on a white horse; and borne before her her standard, which was likewise white, and which had two angels holding each a lily flower in her hand; and on the pennon was painted the Annunciation. She, thus entering into Orleans, had at her left side the Bastard of Orleans, armed and mounted most richly. And after her came several other nobles and valiant lords, squires, captains, and soldiers…Elsewhere she was received by other soldiers and burghers and burgesses of Orleans carrying torches in great number, and making such joy as if they saw God descend among them; and not without cause, for they had many weariness, hardships, and trials; and what was worse; great doubt of succor, and fear to lose body and goods. But they felt wholly comforted, and as if freed from siege by the divine virtue which they had been told was in the simple Maid, whom they regarded most affectionately; men, women, and little children. And there was a most marvelous pressing of the crowd to touch her or the horse on which se was, so much so that one of those who carried the torches approached so near her banner that it caught fire. Whereupon she touché her horse with the spurs , and turned him as gracefully to the banner, of which she extinguished the fire, as if she had long followed the wars. And the soldiers held this in great wonder, and the burghers of Orleans also; who accompanied her the length of their town, making a great welcome, and in very great honor conducting her almost to the Regnart gate, to the home of Jacques Boucher, then treasurer of the Duke of Orleans, where she was welcomed with great joy."
"Trust in God. God will aid the city of Orleans and expel the enemy" Joan speaking to Charlotte Boucher the wife of Jacques Boucher
The residents of Orleans did not have to wait long for their deliverance as Joan immediately went to work and after only three days of fighting (nine days in all) the town was liberated on May 8, 1429, when the English withdrew. To learn more about the actual fighting go here for resources about the Battle of Orleans