The turning point for Orléans was the Hundred Years war. In this city, the French heroine Joan of Arc led the people to defeat the English army in this city. The entire city still retains the 18th century architecture. The various buildings of the city symbolize the story of Joan of Arc and the ancient river port activities. It is only an hour train ride from Paris, and the vibrant urban atmosphere is combined with the elegance of the Loire Valley.
If you are looking for a weekend away, Orléans is a good choice. It is a vibrant and charming city with not only the various historical sites of Joan of Arc but also the natural beauty of the Loire Valley. If you want to know the historical story and natural scenery of the Loire Valley, Orléans is a place you can't miss.
There are many monuments in the city of Orleans, like the Cathedrale Sainte-Croix, Maison de Jeanne d'Arc, Hôtel Groslot and Parc Floral.
Holy Cross Cathedral, the impressive Gothic structure, was listed as a historical monument in 1862. There are five large bells in the north tower of the cathedral, which was cast by George Bray (famous caster of the bell) in Saint-Jean-de-Bray. The bell was used for the christening ceremony on May 1, 1898. The largest clock was 6 tons, named after Joan of Arc. In 1982, some Bas-reliefs were built on the cathedral forecourt. Nowadays, we can also appreciate these delicate Bas-reliefs.
Address : Place Sainte-Croix, 45000 Orléans
Admission Fee : Free
Opening Hours : Monday to Sunday, 9:15-18:00 (April 1st, 2019 - October 1st，2019)
The Joan of Arc House is the former residence of Jacques Boucher, treasurer general to the Duke of Orléans, where the Maid of Orléans stayed in April and May 1429. Joan of Arc is a museum which opened in 2012, shows the history of Orléans which intimately linked to Joan of Arc. The ground floor now hosts a multimedia room with interactive terminals and a panoramic film retracing the heroin’s life.
Address : 3 Place du Général de Gaulle, 45000 Orléans
Admission Fee : Full price - 6 euros, Reduced price - 3 euros
Opening Hours : Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00-13:00, 14:00-18:00 / Closed on Mondays
The former private residence of the city’s bailiff, Jacques Groslot, the building became the town hall after the French Revolution. This fine Renaissance hotel was transformed and has housed the town council since the French Revolution and was once the 'king's guest house'. A statue of Joan in front of the building is a bronze copy of an original marble statue of Princess Marie d’Orléans.
Adress : 2 Place de l'Étape, 45000 Orléans
Admission Fee : Free
Opening Hours : Weekdays 10:00-12:00, 14:00-18:00 (until June 30th, 2019) / Daily 9:00-19:00 (July 1st, 2019 - September 30th, 2019)
The place du Martroi (Martroi Square) lies just to the north of the medieval walls of the city. A first statue erected there in 1804 was the work of Edme Gois. In the afternoon, the citizens of Orleans gather in this square and enjoy the fresh air while reading a book or to chat with friends.
Address : Place du Martroi, 45000 Orléans
The Parc Floral de la Source, (30 minutes from the town center), where you can enjoy a picnic. The park was awarded the “Remarkable Garden” because it has many kinds of plants and flowers like irises, roses and dalias. We can also see a butterfly house and the source of the Loiret River in the park.
Adress : Avenue du Parc Floral, 45100 Orléans
Admission Fee : Adult - 6 euros / 6-16 years old - 4 euros / Free under 6 years old, free from November 4th, 2019 - March 19th, 2020
Opening Hours : 10:00-19:00 (until September 29th, 2019) / 10:00-18:00 (September 30th, 2019 - November 3rd, 2019)
Olivet is small town to the south of orleans. It is situated along the Loiret river which is a tributary of the Loire. This is a good place for walking, you will find many charming wals, manor houses and boats houses as well as mills.
Adress : 45160, Olivet
The modern architecture on the banks of the Loire creates a vibrant and modern atmosphere. The celebration of Joan of Arc is held here in May each year.
Part of the collection in the Musée des Beaux-arts d’Orléans reflects the success of Joan of Arc since the second half of the 19th Century. The highlight of the museum collection is the Cabinet des Pastels which displays all the splendor of major 18th century works such as ''Chadron's famous self-portrait wearing spectacles''.
Address : 1 Rue Fernand Rabier 45000 Orléans
Admission Fee : Adults - 6 euros / Reduced - 3 euros
Opening Hours : Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 -18:00 / Friday 10:00-20:00 / Sunday 13:00-18:00
There is also a famous and splendid show held every year in Orleans. The Joan of Arc festival in Orleans has been listed in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2018. This festival, which takes place from April 29 to May 8, has been celebrated and embraced by the people of Orléans for almost 600 years. In order to celebrate the annual Joan of Arc, there will be a cathedral sound and light show every summer at night. If you want to discover an amazing and lively view, during the festival would be a perfect time. Even when you cannot visit during the festival, there are plenty of things to discover in Orleans to have fun and learn about this historic city.
Words and Photographs by Yi Zhao
Transportation : About 1 hours from Paris Gare d’Austerlitz station
Budget: 10 euro to 30 euro