For many visitors to France from the UK, the City of Orleans(45 Loiret, Centre-Val-de-Loire) is often just a bottleneck on the journey to the Loire and South West – being at the junction of a A10 autoroute to the west and Bordeaux and the A71 south to Central and southwest France – here the autoroutes cross the Loire and the city on 6-lane highways that require some attention with heavy traffic – leaving little opportunity to admire the river or the historic city.
Famous as the home of Jeanne d’Arc, the “maid of Orleans” – she liberated the city from those English infidels in the 100 Years War, and being just about 80 miles south of Paris and at the point where the Loire river is at its most northerly the city has always been important historically and strategically.
Joan of Arc Festival (Fêtes de Jeanne d’Arc) 29 April – 17 May 2020
2019 marked the 590th Anniversary of the liberation of Orleans from the English in 1429! Now you can visit a Museum dedicated to her – see Joan of Arc Museum
The city has an impressive medieval Cathedral, and plenty to explore around the ancient city centre – spaces to relax and enjoy the view along the banks of the Loire – well worth a break in the journey.
The best way to enjoy and explore the place is to use the Park & Ride system, (here known as RELAIS + TRAM) which provides 4 conveniently situated car parks just off the N20 and main through routes (north and south of the city centre) where you can hop on a tram, rather than fight your way through an unfamiliar busy city and then hunt for somewhere to park.
The Loire is the biggest and most important river, but the Loir and Loiret rivers can often be confused with the Loire. Similarly the region here is now Centre-Val-de-Loire, whereas the region further west is Pays de la Loire.
Orléans Christmas Market takes place 29 November – 29 December 2019 at 3 locations in the city: la Place du Martroi, Place de la République and Place de Loire – see www.orleans-agglo.fr/
In the city is the Parc Floral de la Source :
Between the Sologne hills and the Loire valley, the Parc Floral de la Source, Orléans-Loiret invites you to discover the source of the Loiret River, tropical birds, flower gardens, admirable trees, butterfly greenhouse and many other surprises that will enchant you! Open All Year.
There is also an annual wine festival (Salon des Vins de France) 7 – 9 February 2020 – see www.salon-vindefrance.com/
For more info on Park and Ride see www.octranspo1.com
Stay at the B&B Le Séchoir à Tabac (Tobacco Dryer), centrally situated just across the river from the Cathedral.
By train to Orleans with Rail Europe