Orléans

Historc city with a prestigious past, Orléans full of historic buildings, especially from the Renaissance period. This heritage is complemented by religious buildings of the highest order. And it is impossible to discover Orléans without also discovering Joan of Arc. Many monuments, streets and statues refer to she who would liberate the city in the 15th century. The historic center of the city is easily crossed on foot, on a journey through time and through the history of France.

History

The site of the town of Orléans has been occupied since the Palaeolithic era, but its history really began at the establishment the Gallic oppidum : Genabum, then Aurelianis. Like many municipalities of the region, Orléans had repeatedly defended against the Norman invasions, including those of the Huns led by Attila in 451. The history of the city would accelerate from the 10th century onward, when Hugh Capet and his son Robert the Pious were crowned in the cathedral of Orléans. Thereafter, the Capetian dynasty would significantly expand religious and intellectual circles : the monasteries and churches multiplied and the university of law was born in the early 14th century. From this period onward, the duchy of Orléans, royal and loyal city, traditionally went to the second son of the king of France.

The history of the city would shift during the Hundred Years’ War. A young woman named Joan of Arc lifted the siege of the city in 1429. The English were driven out of the city, and the reconquest of the territory could then begin. In the following century, the city prospered and welcomed many new churches and mansions.  

Though troubled during the Religious Wars, the city once again came to life in the 17th century with trade along the river, including sugar, vinegar and fabrics. The quays of the city still testify to the intense fluvial activity of this period. The city would prosper again and the 18th century would give it its present architectural appearance. The following century, Orléans would suffer at the arrival of the railroad and the loss of influence in the sugar colonies (end of slavery). In 1870, it was occupied by the Prussian army and the two world wars of the 20th century certainly left their mark, but the town prevailed.

Tourist Office

Tourist Office 

2 Place de l'Etape, 45000 Orléans
Website - tel : 02 38 24 05 05.
Opening times :

October through February, Monday : 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ; Tuesday to Saturday : 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
 Closed on Monday in January.
March, Monday : 2 p.m. to 5 :30 p.m. ; Tuesday to Friday : 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5 :30 p.m. ; Saturday : 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

April, Monday : 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ; Tuesday to Saturday : 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

May and September, Monday to Saturday : 9 :30 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

June, Monday to Saturday : 9 :30 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 :30 p.m. 

July and August, Monday to Saturday : 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ; Sunday : 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.


For families, the Tourist Office of Orléans provides entertainment, workshops, tours and rallies to discover, all included in its program of walks, published every three months (see section "amuse-mômes.")

Visit of the city

Many houses and mansions of the Renaissance era have feature the motto Pax huic domui (Peace to this house) on the front, in celebration of the end of the Religious Wars.


Cathédrale Sainte-Croix
Place Sainte Croix, 45000 Orléans
Open all year, daily:

October through April : 9:15 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; May through September : 9:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.



The edifice of the Sainte-Croix Cathedral that is visible today, on the renovated square, was mostly constructed in the early 17th century. But long before this reconstruction, several churches had been established at this location. The first building dates back to the 7th century ; a huge Romanesque church succeeded it ; then another, in Gothic style. In 1599, Henri IV made the decision to finance work from the public funds (royal treasury). The construction lasted throughout the 17th century and the official opening of the door of the cathedral took place May 8th, 1829, on the occasion of the fourth centennial of the deliverance of Orléans by Joan of Arc.



The interior is very high quality : the sculptures of stone or wood, including the wood paneling and the stalls of the choir, are perfectly executed. The stained glass windows show the life of Joan of Arc, the history of the cathedral and the Passion of Christ.


Musée des Beaux Arts
1 Rue Fernand Rabier, 45000 Orléans
Website - tel : 02 38 79 21 83.
Full price / reduced price : €4 / €2. Free for those under 18 years old and on the first Sunday of each month.

The ticket allows access to two museums (the Museum of Fine Arts and the History Museum).

Open all year :

Tuesday to Saturday : 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (until 8 p.m. on Friday), Sunday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays.

Free audio guide available in French, German, English and Spanish.



A beautiful museum that hosts an impressive collection of works and artistic creations from the 15th to the 20th century. The exceptional collection of French paintings and sculptures from the 17th to the 19th century is one of the richest in France. There is also a fine collection of traditional Dutch and Italian paintings, and a section of modern and contemporary art. Features temporary exhibitions as well.


For children: visual arts classes, mini-courses on weekends and art workshops during school holidays.


Rampart Rue Paul Belmondo
Rue Paul Belmondo, 45000 Orléans
Just like the rampart of the Rue de la Tour Neuve, the rampart of rue Paul Belmondo dates from the 4th century, the upper part having been rebuilt in the 12th century. Here, the houses actually prevented the wall from falling down by leaning against it.


Hôtel Groslot
Place de l’Etape, 45000 Orléans
Free admission.


Opening times : 

September to June, Monday to Friday : 9 a.m to 12 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; Sunday : 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

July and August, Monday to Friday : 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; Sunday : 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 


The Groslot Mansion, built in 1530 in a Renaissance style, was the home of a notable figure before becoming City Hall after the Revolution. The two wings were added during that period. In 1560, King Francis II settled there with his court even in the last months of his life. On the porch, a statue of Joan of Arc from the 19th century monitors visitors. Today, it hosts weddings.


The decor and furnishings are composed of many souvenirs of Joan of Arc, paintings (one, the work of Dupuy, describes the death of King Francis II in the mansion), Aubusson tapestries, wooden chests (one offered by Louis XI to the canons of Saint-Aignan, another dating from the 16th century) and other antique furniture.

Garden of the Hôtel Groslot
Rue d'Escures , 45000 Orléans
Open daily :

February, March and October : 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ; April through September : 7 :30 a.m. to 8 p.m. ; November through January : 8 a.m. to 5 :30 p.m.

Located at the rear of the Groslot Mansion, the garden invites visitors for a romantic and intimate walk.


Rue de la Bretonnerie
45000 Orléans
The Rue de la Bretonnerie is located on a path that dates back to Antiquity, connecting Orléans and Chartres. Bretons (those from Brittany) seeking refuge against the invasions of the Normans gave their name to the street. It is now lined with magnificent Renaissance mansions of the 15th and 16th century. Of note in particular the Old Stewardship Mansion (No. 24, 26 and 28) and the Courthouse (No. 44), built on the former Ursuline convent whose facade has been preserved.

Nearby, with shady paths lined in wild vegetation and clipped lawns, the garden of the Old Stewardship provides an intimate and relaxing break. Opening times: February, March and October : 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ; April through September : 7 :30 a.m. to 8 p.m. ; November through January : 8 a.m. to 5 :30 p.m.
 



Rue d'Escures
45000 Orléans
This street was developed thanks to Marshal Pierre Fougueu d’Escures during the 16th century. It was he who built the four perfectly symmetrical elegant red brick and slate pavilions.
 


Eglise Saint Pierre du Martroi
Rue d'Escures, 45000 Orléans
The first church built at this location was constructed in the 12th century and destroyed during the Hundred Years War. The present Church of Saint Pierre du Martroi was built in the 16th century.


Place du Martroi
45000 Orléans
The central square of the city, the word Martroi comes from the same etymological source as martyr. The Martroi squares were therefore places of public executions. This square was built during the construction of the second fortifications in the 14th century. The equestrian statue of Joan of Arc that adorns the center is the work of sculptor Foyatier and was inaugurated on May 8th, 1855.


Rue Jeanne d'Arc
45000 Orléans
This street is the result of a redevelopment in the early 19th century. The creation of this street was meant to connect Rue Royale (which had been recently completed) to the cathedral. The work engendered the disappearance of several streets and three squares.
 


Rue Royale
45000 Orléans
The creation of Rue Royale was ordered by Louis XV in 1752. The idea was to continue the implementation of a new Royal bridge by an axis that would come out on Place du Martroi. Part of the Rue Royale was destroyed during the Second World War. The former Chancellery however, on Place Martroi, retained its original facade.


Maison de Jeanne d'Arc
3 Place du Général de Gaulle, 45000 Orléans

Website - 02 38 68 32 63.
Full price / reduced price : €4 / €2

Ticket allows access to the History and Archaeological Museum of Orléans (Hôtel Cabu, square Desnoyers)

Open Tuesday to Sunday :

October trough March : 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; April through September : 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays and holidays.
Visit presented in French and English. Media room. Center for research and documentation.



From April 29th to May 9th, 1429, Joan of Arc stayed in this half-timbered house (its reconstruction dates back to 1960) that then belonged to Jacques Boucher, treasurer of the Duke of Orléans. She stayed there for ten days, the time to deliver the city from seven months of English siege. The multimedia room on the ground floor retraces the life of Joan of Arc. With interactive terminals and films, visitors revisit the medieval epic of the so-called "Maid of Orléans " Also houses temporary exhibitions.


Hôtel Euverte Hatte - Centre Charles Péguy
11 Rue du Tabour, 45000 Orléans
tel : 02 38 53 20 23.
Free admission.

Opening times for the museum and temporary exhibition: Tuesday to Saturday : 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Opening times for the documentation center : Monday to Friday : 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

We owe this Renaissance mansion to Euverte Hatte, a rich merchant who built this magnificent building in 1524. The simplicity of the facade contrasts with the decorative richness of the courtyard.


The museum traces the life and work of Charles Peguy (1873-1914), a famous writer and native of Orléans. A place of research, the Charles Peguy Center brings together an almost complete collection of the manuscripts, correspondence, studies and theses on this writer.


Hôtel Cabu, Musée Historique et Archéologique de l'Orléanais
Place Abbé Desnoyers, 45000 Orléans
Website - tel : 02 38 79 25 60.
Full price / reduced price : €4 / €2. Free for those under 18 years old. Free admission on the first Sunday of each month. Admission ticket also valid for the Museum of Fine Arts.

Opening times :

April through September: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m./ 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
October through March: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
For children: a booklet of games is available at the reception desk (in French).



Philippe Cabu, a lawyer, had this beautiful Renaissance mansion built in 1550. It has housed the Historical and Archaeological Museum of the city since 1862.


Collections : the treasure of Neuvy-en-Sullias, consisting of Gallic and Gallo-Roman bronze, is the highlight of the visit. The museum also features beautiful collections of objects and architectural elements from the medieval period, as well as equally interesting section dedicated to the history of the city.


Hôtel des Créneaux
Rue Sainte Catherine, 45000 Orléans
The mansion mostly dates back to the of the 15th and 16th centuries, which gives it a unique style, with alternating Gothic and Renaissance influences. It housed the first city hall, and then became the seat of the court after the French Revolution, and finally became the Museum of Fine Arts until 1981.


Maisons Sancier et de La Pomme
Place Abbé Desnoyers
45000 Orléans
Both houses have beautiful Renaissance facades, and probably belonged to wealthy merchants. Though they are more than 400 years old, they have not always been located at this site. Indeed, they were moved in the early 20th century and were thus spared demolition, the consequences of urban redevelopment. In observing the red brick facade of the Maison de la Pomme, it’s not hard to guess the origin of its name ...



Maison de Ducerceau
6 Rue Ducerceau, 45000 Orléans
This beautiful Renaissance style mansion, which backs up to the medieval walls, bears the name of Jacques I Androuet Ducerceau, architect of King Henry II, who was attributed this achievement around 1550.


Place du Châtelet
45000 Orléans
Although the Place du Châtelet was redeveloped in the 19th century during the construction of the first covered market, a few medieval houses and Renaissance buildings allow you to imagine the appearance of the square from these periods.


La maison Jean d’Alibert

6 place du Châtelet, 45000 Orléans
The Maison Jean d' Alibert, the name of a merchant Orléans, dates back to the 16th century (1560). Its architecture, typical for the time, has a high and narrow facade. On the ground floor were shops. Sometimes very sumptuous, the decorative richness of the facades illuminates the richness of its occupants.


Maison de La Coquille
7 Rue de la Pierre Percée, 45000 Orléans
.This house owes its name to the shell (coquille in French) carved above the front door. This symbol is a reminder of the close proximity of the Saint-Jacques Chapel, step for pilgrims on the route to Saint Jacques de Compostela. The facade is a fine example of Renaissance architecture in Orléans : typical two-level house with the shops on the ground floor, and a side passage to the courtyard and first floor, which served as habitation.


Eglise Notre-Dame-de-Recouvrance
12 Rue Notre-Dame-de-Recouvrance, 45000 Orléans
The construction of the Church of Notre-Dame de Recouvrance in close proximity to the ports is not trivial. Indeed, it was built for the wives of sailors so that they could pray for the return of their husbands. It dates from the 16th century. Rebuilt several times over the centuries, of note in particular are the portals from the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the stained glass in the chevet evoking the childhood of Christ (16th century).


Rues de Bourgogne et de l'Empereur
45000 Orléans
These streets follow the route of the main communication channels from the time of Cenabum. The first runs east to west, from a necropolis to a forum, the second from north to south. At no. 37 Rue de Emperor, the ground floor has an interesting carved facade, typical of the late Middle Ages.


 Protestant Temple
Cloître Saint-Pierre-Empont, 45000 Orléans
The Protestant church was inaugurated in 1839. This is the first place of worship that the Protestant community built in Orléans. Although there were protestant churches located here in the past, the Religious Wars and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 led to their destruction.


Designed in a very simple style, the simplicity of the antique-style facade consists of a pediment supported by four Ionic columns and rotunda in the same architectural style.


Préfecture
181 Rue de Bourgogne, 45000 Orléans
The buildings of the current prefecture date from the 19th century. But long before, in ancient times, at this location stood a forum, then several churches until the 18th century.


Collégiate church of Saint-Pierre-le-Puellier
Cloister of Saint-Pierre-le-Puellier, 45000 Orléans
Open from 
Tuesday to Sunday: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Located in a lively student neighborhood, the Saint-Pierre le Puellier Cathedral remains the oldest church in the city today, dating back to the 12th century. Romanesque in its shape and proportions, the choir was rebuilt in the 13th and 16th centuries. The building lost its religious function following the French Revolution and was transformed into a salt shop before again serving as a place of worship. Restored in 1960, hosts cultural exhibitions.


Rampart Rue de La Tour Neuve
Rue de la Tour Neuve, 45000 Orléans
This fragment of a wall dates back to the 4th century when the city was protected by 2 kilometers of fortifications. The characteristic style of the Gallo-Roman era is noticeable : alternating limestone and brick, bonded with mortar. Involuntarily, it as thanks to industrial buildings that leaned against the wall and used it as a support that this portion of the wall made it through the centuries.


Tour Blanche
13 bis Rue de la Tour Neuve, 45000 Orléans
The White Tower was part of the defensive system of walls surrounding the city. Its base, visible on the Rue Saint Flou, dates back to the 4th century. Built and rebuilt over the following centuries it underwent many changes. From the 15th century onward, new walls and the extension of the city made its defensive function unnecessary. It was then converted into housing and now houses the archeology department of the city.


Eglise Saint Aignan
Cloître Saint Aignan, 45000 Orléans
Aignan was one of the first bishops of the city. It is even said that he pushed back the attacks of the Huns of Attila in 451. Naturally, a basilica was erected to house the relics of this Saint from the 6th century. In the following century, canons settled there. But the building that exists today was completed in 1509 under Louis XI. During the Revolution, the collegiate church was turned into a tent factory and then, in 1802, returned to its function as a place of worship.

Crypt of Saint-Aignan

Rue Neuve Saint Aignan, 45000 Orléans
This crypt was created by King Robert the Pious to house the relics of Saint-Aignan. It was consecrated in 1029. The relics of Saint-Aignan were kept in the martyrium. To visit the crypt, information is available at the Tourist Office.


Parc Floral de la Source

Avenue du Parc Floral, 45000 Orléans
Website - tel : 02 38 49 30 00
Full price / reduced price : €6 / €4. Free for children under 6 years old

Open daily :

November through March : 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ; April through September : 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Open in the evening until 11 p.m. some nights. October: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.



South of the city of Orléans, this beautiful park, which extends over 35 hectares, is a haven of peace. Classified as a  “Remarkable Garden” visitors are in a grandiose setting : tropical garden, landscape and floral arrangements, the spring of Loiret. Each season reveals new colors and new fragrances ...



For children:

Mini zoo (alpacas, donkeys, goats, sheep, local and exotic birds ... ), butterfly garden, playground. 

Children can watch animal feedings from March to October, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
Educational workshops from March to October on the last Wednesday of the month.

Activities for children 6 years old and up from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A show for the whole family, from March through October, takes place the last Sunday of the month at 3:30 p.m.

Transport

Getting to Orléans

By car
From Paris or Bordeaux: Highway A10, exit 1: Orléans centre

From Bourges : Highway A71, exit 1: Orléans centre

Nearby classified sites

Fontainebleau : 90 km (56 mi), time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Chartres: 80 km (50 mi), time : 1 hour, 15 minutes

Bourges : 123 km (76 mi), time : 1 hour, 30 minutes

By train
Gare Orléans Centre
Avenue de Paris, 45000 Orléans
Website - tel : 36 35.
Gare grandes lignes de Fleury-les-Aubrais
Rue Lamartine, 45400 Fleury les Aubrais
Website - tel : 36 35.
3 kilometers north of Orléans, tram connections to the center of Orléans via Line A.

By bus
Gare routière
2 rue Marcel Proust, 45000 Orléans 

Tel : 02 38 53 94 75. 
Several regional passenger coach companies share frequent departmental and interdepartmental lines.

By plane
Orléans is an hour drive from Orly Airport (Paris) and and the Tours Airport, and two hours from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle (Paris)


Getting around

City transport
TAO Network : Tram et bus.
Website - tel : 08 00 01 20 00.

By bicycle
Vélo'+

2 rue de l'Aqueduc, 45000 Orléans
Website - tel : 08 00 00 83 56
Self-service bicycle rental (33 stations) provided by the municipality.

Events

Jeanne d'Arc Festivals (for 10 days around May 1st)

A 10-day festival devoted to she who delivered Orléans from the English yoke in 1429.  These Johannic festivals are one of the highlights of the year in Orléans. Many activities and entertainment are scheduled: raising of the flag, horse shows, crossing of the city by Jeanne d'Arc on horseback, medieval market, light and sound show at the cathedral ...

The Loire Festival (late September every two years)

Tel : 02 38 24 05 05.

For 5 days the Loire Festival honors the Royal River, its beauty and its boating tradition of yesteryear. It is the largest European gathering of river navigation, reviving the port’s finest hours. Over 600 sailors and 400 artists honor the culture, the Loire gastronomy and its traditions. Many events are scheduled : evening lights, nautical demonstrations and performances on the water and on the docks.

Markets
Food market, Marché de la Madeleine, Allée Pierre Chevallier. Every Sunday morning.

Food market, quai King's Wharf. Every Saturday morning.

Evening market, Place du Martroi. Every Friday from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

Organic market, Place de la République on the 1st, 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month.

Sleeping / Eating

Accommodation
The selection of accommodation proposed below consists of establishments that offer a good quality/price value. The prices shown are for the off season, on the basis of 2 people (d: double, tr : triple, q: quadruple).

Hôtel de l’Abeille ***
64 Rue d'Alsace Lorraine, 45000 Orléans
Website - tel : 02 38 53 54 87.
Price from : d. €96/ tr. €150/ q. €180.

Hôtel d’Arc ****
37 ter Rue de la République, 45000 Orléans
Website - tel : 02 38 53 10 94.
Price from €147.

Eating

The selection of restaurants proposed below consists of restaurants that offer a good price/quality value. “Formule” corresponds to a lunch special with a starter and a main course, or a main course and a dessert. The “menus” usually consist of a starter, a main course and a dessert," for lunch or dinner.

Hikari – Japanese cuisine
28 Rue de la Poterne, 45000 Orléans
Tel : 02 38 62 28 00.
"Menu" from €34.

La Parenthèse – Refined cuisine
26 Place du Châtelet, 45000 Orléans
Website - Tel: 02 38 62 07 50.
"Lunch formule" €15.50. "Menu" €30.

Le Dariole – modern cuisine
25 Rue Étienne-Dolet, 45000 Orléans
Tel : 02 38 77 26 67.
"Lunch formule" : €21. "Dinner menu" from €25.50.

Le Lift – cuisine with seasonal products

Place de la Loire, 45000 Orléans
Website - tel : 02 30 98 01 47.
Lunch "menu" €24. A la Carte.

Eugène – Creative cuisine
24 Rue Saint Anne, 45000 Orléans
Website - Tel: 02 38 53 82 64.
"Formule" from €35. "Menu" €45.

Le Lièvre Gourmand – Gourmet cuisine
28 Quai du Châtelet, 45000 Orléans
Website - Tel: 02 38 53 66 14.
"Lunch formule" €35. "Dinner menu" from €45.

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