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From the 12th century right up to the founding of the early Scottish Universities, the University of Orléans was where many young Scots sought their education, particularly in law and theology.

And the city's connection with Scotland was also reinforced by the involvement of many Scots on the French side in the Hundred Years' War with England.

When the English besieged Orléans in October 1428 it was the Scottish Constable of France - John Stuart of Darnley - who led the first attempt to relieve the city in February 1429.

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He attended the Dauphin's coronation later that year and also instituted the annual parade to commemorate the relief of the city.

This parade, in which a young girl represents Joan, is the culmination of ceremonies which have taken place annually ever since.

Among Joan's Scottish captains on that day was Patrick Ogilvy from Airlie in Angus.

He was later severely wounded when he tried to defend her at the moment of her capture.

The city of Orléans, like Dundee, owes its ancient origins to its position on the banks of a great river.

Down the centuries Roman, Viking, English, and German invaders have all sought to control this vital crossing place on the Loire - France's longest river and key to the heart of France.

Long famous for its part in the story of Joan of Arc, Orléans is the present-day capital of the département of Loiret and the capital of the Centre Region.

With the vast fertile agricultural hinterland of the Beauce and the Gâtinais surrounding it in the north bank of the river and the great royal hunting forests of the Sologne on the south side, Orléans was always one of France's principal centres of food production and trading.

Patrick Ogilvy and other Scottish captains are commemorated on a plaque in an old street in Orléans named 'The Street of the Scottish Sword'.

John Stuart of Darnley was buried in Orléans Cathedral where there is also a memorial plaque.

The nearby town of Aubigny-sur-Nere was part of the John Stuart's French estate and to this day is proud of its Scottish connection - the Aubigny Town Council always takes part in the Joan of Arc parade, wearing the kilt and accompanied by bagpipes as they march along!


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