capital of the department of the Loiret and the Centre region of
France (no not Tours) is a city that has struggled to return to former glories
after being devastated during World War II. History has not been
kind to the city what with the Romans, Attila the Hun and the
English all doing their best to wipe it out even before then. A few
historic buildings have survived and they, along with the obvious
Joan of Arc connection keep it on the Loire Valley tourist map.
*The season of festivals throughout the
summer can make it a lively place.
If you visit the tourist office they'll provide
you with an itinerary
to enable you to
visit the main sites of interest in the city and appreciate the
Romanesque churches, the many examples of renaissance architecture,
the half timbered houses and the various museums throughout the
three main places of interest have to be the impressive cathedral
'Ste-Croix', Hotel Groslot (former Hotel de Ville) and the
re-creation of Joan of Arc's house on Place General-de-Gaulle.The
kids might enjoy this more than adults so be sure to give a little
insight in to her history as an introduction.
The Groslot mansion has played host to a number
of the kings of France and is worth a visit -don't miss its small
but pretty little garden.
For 'culture vultures' there is also the large
Musee des Beaux-Arts to keep you happy.
Don't miss taking the kids, especially the
younger ones, to Parc Floral de la Source a 32 hectare site which has everything from
a butterfly kingdom ,kid's play area, puppet shows and glorious
garden displays. It can be found south of the river in the
direction of St-Cyr-en-Val. There is however an entrance fee:
Adults- 6 euros kids 6 to 16 - 4 euros under 6 free.
*Fetes de Jeanne d'Arc
From the end of April to the first week in May, the anniversary of the liberation of Orleans by Joan of
Arc is celebrated by a series of events including :medieval festival
and market, concerts, exhibitions, sound and light displays plus
various processions commencing with 'Joan' entering the city through
the 'Port de Bourgogne'.
The high points of these festivities are during the first couple of days with the ceremony of the "standard" handed from the mayor to the bishop, the commemorative parades, concerts in the town and a firework display on the facade of the cathedral.
Medieval market at the Campo Santo.
*Orleans Jazz Festival
The annual Orléans Jazz festival hails the
start of summer with concerts at
venues across the city. Highlights
of this year's programme include
Herbie Hancock, The Archie Shepp
Quartet with Mina Agossi, Lucky
Peterson, Keziah Jones, Hadouk Trio
and Ian Shaw. Plus see traditional
river boats on the banks of the
For full programme details, please
visit the festival
*Festival de Loire d'Orleans From 18th to 22 September 2013
Over 5 days late September, the town of Orléans
pays tribute to the Loire and its boating heritage. The
“Port of Orléans”, is formed for the occasion consisting of
over 1000 m of quays. where you will find the biggest
gathering of French riverboats: sapines, toues, gabarres,
futreaux, chalands, yoles, plates… - mainly from the Loire
but also from other French and Dutch rivers.
You will be able to see the boatmen give nautical
demonstrations: fishing demonstrations, unloading goods,
manoeuvres plus boat trips…
As part of the festival a Ramberte – a large boat
transporting coal – will be built before your very eyes.
Visitors can also discover all the related trades – cooper,
rope-maker, ironmonger, joiner, sawyer, etc.
The Port of Orléans is the venue for a great many
performances – no fewer than forty shows – with music, dance, roundabouts
plus street theatre.
the evening, water, fire and light will be the elements in
fairytale shows: luminous water-jet near the lock, braziers
along the Châtelet quay, fire processions in canoes, and,
the highlight, a major fireworks display on the Loire, on
Saturday 22 September.
The river heritage of the Loire Valley will also be
displayed through workshops, tasting of regional
produce at the “Village de Loire”, seminars, etc, throughout
the five days on the quays and in the town.
Full programme at: www.festivaldeloire.com
Rue de Bourgogne is home to the majority of bars, pubs and nightlife of Orleans.
Trams and buses run throughout the city and
run to the town of Fleury-lès-Aubrais.
The trams run from the city centre down main street to the
outlying small towns and suburbs.
The best way to see Orleans however is by foot or bike as it
is not a large place with many of the attractions near to each
other. Bike rental stations allow you to ride from point A to