Above the modest main street in the market town of Vaucouleurs, you can see ruins of Robert de Baudricourt's medieval castle and the Porte de France. The barefoot Maid of Orléans spent several months here, arriving on May 13, 1428 to ask Governor de Baudricourt for help. After wheedling an audience at the castle, she convinced him of the necessity of her mission, learning to ride and to wield a sword. Won over finally by her conviction and by popular sentiment, de Baudricourt offered to give her an escort to seek out the king. On February 23, 1429, clad in page's garb and with her hair cut short, Jeanne d'Arc rode out through the Porte de France, en route to Orléans.

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