The France national rugby union team
in rugby union
. They compete annually against England
in the Six Nations Championship
. They have won the championship outright sixteen times, shared it a further eight times, and have completed nine grand slams
. Eight former French players have been inducted into either the International Rugby Hall of Fame
or the IRB Hall of Fame
—two to the International Hall only, two to the IRB Hall only, and four to both Halls of Fame.
France traditionally play in blue shirts with white shorts and red socks, and are commonly referred to as les tricolores or les bleus. The French emblem is a golden rooster imposed upon a red shield. Their alternative strip is composed of a white shirt and navy blue shorts and socks. French international matches are played at several venues across the country; the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis is used for their games during the Six Nations, and they have a formidable home record at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille where they have only lost twice, to Argentina in 2004 and to New Zealand in 2009.
Joan of Arc
, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans
" (French: La Pucelle d'Orléans
), is a folk heroine
of France and a Roman Catholic saint
. She was born a peasant
girl in what is now eastern France. Claiming divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War
, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII of France
. She was captured by the Burgundians
, transferred to the English in exchange for money, put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon
for charges of "insubordination and heterodoxy", and was burned at the stake
when she was 19 years old.
Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is – along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux – one of the patron saints of France. Joan said that she had visions from God that instructed her to recover her homeland from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the dismissive attitude of veteran commanders and lifted the siege in only nine days. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Reims.
To the present day, Joan of Arc has remained a significant figure in Western civilization.