Orleans, the 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
Orleans 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
The season of festivals throughout the summer that the
city hosts can however 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 city.
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 into her history as an introduction.
For 'culture vultures' there is also the large Musee des Beaux-Arts to keep you
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 an
entrance fee for adults - kids under 6 free.
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.