Orleans: the sights of France

What to see in Orleans in 1 day?


Orleans is a great city for a 1-day getaway from Paris. Just an hour’s drive from the capital, this old town with its narrow streets, spacious squares and rich history is preserved. Now we’ll tell you when and why you should go there and how to get there from Paris.

Why go to Orleans?

You can imagine that Orleans is a trip to medieval Paris. In those very Middle Ages, Orleans, like Paris, was an extremely important city, one of the richest and correspondingly most beautiful. One branch of the French dynasty bore the name “the Orleans branch.

Remember history, Joan of Arc is also called the “Maid of Orleans” (a little later we will tell you why). In general, it was a rich and important city. And it stands on the great French river Loire.

But the time came, and in the 19th century, money was invested in the capital. Paris was rebuilt. But Orleans remained Orleans. It was frozen in time and space, it didn’t grow, it became provincial, but it retained the spirit of that old Paris with which it once competed. That’s what you have to go to Orleans for.

Here you’ll see what the Sorbonne would have looked like if Cardinal Richelieu hadn’t rebuilt it, how confusing Paris could have been without the Ottoman avenues. You can imagine the old port with its lively trade on the Seine (only here it’s on the Loire), see geese strolling importantly through the very center of the city, and take a trip to the castles.

When is it worth going to Orleans?

Jeanne d...

There are two major holidays in Orleans that are worth going to. They are Liberation Day and the Feast of the Loire.

On May 8, Orleanians celebrate the liberation of their city by Joan of Arc. If you remember history, during the Hundred Years’ War, the English were about to conquer France, and it seemed that that was the end. But then along came a selfless girl who decided to save her country.

She organized a guerrilla movement, fought a short time – only 2 years. Then she was captured by the British and burned, but her campaign was the turning point of the whole war, and the French won. And the girl began her march against the enemy from Orleans. It was her first and very successful battle. So much so that the people of Orleans have been celebrating it for 600 years.

The celebration begins two weeks before May 8. Each year, the city chooses a prototype of Jeanne, a young student or schoolgirl. She rides a horse into the decorated city with her entourage. Knights, torches. Then there is a medieval marketplace and various performances in the city. On May 8, there is a big parade down the main street in honor of Joan.

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The second holiday is the Feast of the Loire, held in September every 2 years (the odd year). The weekend is complete with a parade of riverboats and farmers’ markets on the banks of the Loire, and the festival ends with a colourful fireworks display.

In general, Orleans is a great city in summer. The bike path along the Loire Chateaux runs through it and it is very pleasant to ride along it. But in winter it’s not without a Christmas market.

What to see in Orleans? Map at

You can see the main part of the city in a couple of hours. Start your trip from the train station.

After walking down Rue de la République, you’ll get to the main square of the city, Place Martrois. It is all white and glowing, and in the center there is a statue of Joan of Arc on a horse. Here you can start counting the number of times you meet the name of this heroine during your journey.

Place du Martroy

If you’re traveling with children, don’t miss the Jules Verne-style carousel with submarine, balloon and rocket. There are plenty of cafes on the square. If you get hungry you can have a snack on one of the terraces.

From the square we turn left and go to the church of Saint-Pierre-de-Martroy. If the church is open, take a look inside, we’ll start comparing all the local medieval churches. And besides, organ music concerts are often held here.

Hotel Grosso

We go on to the Hotel Groslo. The hotel is not really a hotel, but a mansion. The Groslo Mansion is the former City Hall of Orleans. You can enter it for free and admire the 19th century interiors and paintings. But before that, it’s also worth checking out the small Grosso Park that will be on your way.

And in front of the entrance to the current City Hall, you’ll be greeted by who? Joan of Arc, of course. Only this time wounded. Orleans was bombed during World War II (which is why it lost some of its old neighborhoods today), and the Joan of Arc monument was hit by some shrapnel. They decided not to repair the monument, but to leave it as a reminder of the hard years of the war.

Holy Cross Cathedral

And here we are at the main cathedral of Orleans, you’ve noticed it from afar. It’s called the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Look, it’s very similar to Notre Dame in Paris, only much more openwork. It’s like it’s framed in lace. Unlike its Parisian counterpart, this cathedral was not built until the 17th century. Nevertheless, one cannot deny its beauty and airiness. Go inside the cathedral, walk around it and meet at Rue Potier.

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First of all, you have a great view of the cathedral’s rose, and secondly, there’s a very tiny building lurking. It looks more like a church, but it is one of the very first universities in the world. Of course, today’s University of Orleans has grown and occupied several buildings, but this is where it all began. And this may have been roughly what the Sorbonne of Paris looked like at one time. It was also where Calvin himself gave his lectures.

Rue de Bourgonne

Next, we’ll turn onto Rue de Bourgogne, the main street in Old Orleans. Look at what the main streets looked like in the Middle Ages. It’s almost even! This is where the old town begins, with many bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Walk around the area, pick your favorite half-timbered house and pay attention to 272 rue Bourgogne. It’s not a wooden house, but it’s one of the oldest surviving ones. By the way, it was on rue Bourgogne that Jeanne entered Orleans.


Every old town had a market square. That’s where we got to. Well, that’s what it’s called – the market square. Look how many cafes there are, and all of them with fresh food, fresh from the market. If you want, you can go to the market itself (it’s already in a new building) or eat in one of the cafes.

We met again in the Jardin de la Charpenterie. That’s the name of the whole street, that’s where the carpenters used to live. And in Orleans there are also pear street, Jewish street and a lot of other streets with funny names.

But let’s go back to the garden. It’s quite modest, but it’s so pleasant in the summer, with a great view of the Loire River and the promenade. And the garden itself, you won’t believe it, is on the roof of a movie theater. Now we’ll walk down to the waterfront and you’ll see it for yourself.

Take a walk or a bike ride down the waterfront. If you go east, in about 40 kilometers you will reach the Château of Sully-sur-Loire, and if you go west, you will get to the picturesque town of Beaugency and then to Blois with the royal castle.

Casa de Jeanne d

Orleans is a city, though small, but conveniently located, it is from here that you can start your journey along the Loire valley and meet on your way dozens of royal, chivalric and aristocratic castles.

We suggest you walk still beneath the arcades and reach Joan of Arc Square, where her house has been carefully restored. And from there, the train station is close by. If you liked Orleans or are planning a trip to the Loire Chateaux, choose a hotel in the historic part of town.

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How to get to Orleans?

There is a train from Gare de Paris Austerlitz from 6am to 9pm about every hour. You must go to the station Orléans-Center. One way is about one hour and the ticket costs about 20 euros. You can buy it in advance on the RailEurope website and not bother with the ticket machines at the station.

Enjoy Orleans. Try to walk around all the nooks and crannies of this medieval city. And don’t forget to write us in the comments how many times you remembered Jeanne.


Orleans (France) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main attractions of Orleans with descriptions, guides and maps.

Orleans city, France

Orleans is a city in Central France, located southwest of Paris. It is the capital of the historical region of the Loire Valley, which is known throughout the world for its magnificent castles. Orleans is an ancient city with more than two thousand years of history, whose origins date back to the times of the Romans and Celts. It has a vast historic center with a monumental Gothic cathedral, charming old streets and houses. Orleans is known as the birthplace of Joan of Arc, the national heroine of France. The city is not spoilt for tourists, though it is a true gem of the Loire Valley.

Things to do (France):

The Louvre in the morning or evening. Tickets guaranteed!

51 €46 per person

The Louvre in the morning or evening. Tickets guaranteed!

Two hours in the company of great masterpieces and without the tourist crowds on a tour in a mini group

One Day in Paris

€285 per tour

One Day in Paris” sightseeing tour

Grand tour of the city for a full day – all the best things to see in the city.

Geography and climate

Orleans is located in central France in the northern Loire Valley. The river divides the city in two parts and crosses it from east to west. Orleans is located 120 km southwest of Paris. The climate is temperate with a strong maritime influence. Summers are warm and winters are mild.



Tourist info

  1. Population – more than 110 thousand people.
  2. Area – 27,48 km 2 .
  3. Language: French.
  4. Currency – euro.
  5. Visa – Schengen.
  6. Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
  7. The largest shopping center is located on Place d’Arc.
  8. A huge number of restaurants is located on rue de Bourgogne. You can find both fine dining establishments and inexpensive traditional restaurants here.

The Streets of Orleans

The streets of Orleans

Orleans is relatively close to the two Parisian airports. Unfortunately, the city is not directly connected to them. First you have to get to Paris train station, from where you can take a fast train to Orleans (travel time 50 min) or a regular train (travel time 90 min).


Orleans was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic tribe of Carnuts called the Cenabum. By the 1st century it was already a thriving river port and trading settlement. In 52 BC, Orleans was conquered by Caesar’s troops and became Aurelian. The city remained under Roman rule until the 4th century AD. In 451, a combined army of Visigoths and Romans stopped Attila the Hun here.

Pskov and the sights of the city

During the Frankish era, Orleans became one of the most important cities of their kingdom. In 511 an important ecclesiastical council was held here, which prefigured the beginning of the alliance between church and kings. Under the sons of the first Frankish king Clovis, Orleans became the center of one of the four kingdoms that make up the territory of their state. In the 9th, 10th and 12th centuries, several coronations took place here. And even when Paris became the capital of the French kingdom, Orleans did not lose its importance and thrived on trade and wine.

The Streets of Orleans

The streets of Orleans

In 1306, a university was founded in Orleans. During the Hundred Years’ War (1428-1429), the city was besieged by the English and liberated by French troops led by Joan of Arc. In the 16th century, it became one of the centers of the Reformation and the Calvinist movement. In the 17th – 18th century, Orleans prospered thanks to trade. In the 19th century, the city “comes” with an industrial boom. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, Orleans was taken by the Prussian army twice. The city was also occupied by German troops from 1940 to 1944.


Historic Center of Orleans

Historic Downtown Orleans

Orleans has a large and beautiful historic center, which is located between the Loire and the cathedral. The old city has preserved its 16th to 18th century architecture. Many of the old buildings are perfectly restored. Also in the historic center of Orleans are pretty original half-timbered houses, which now house cafes and stores.

Saint Croix Cathedral

Saint Croix Cathedral

Saint Croix Cathedral is Orleans’ main landmark and a grand Gothic masterpiece. Construction of the cathedral began in the 13th century and continued for more than 5 centuries. Therefore, the influence of different architectural styles, especially classicism, is noticeable in the architecture of the church. The building has many impressive stone ornaments, beautiful windows with modern stained glass windows and two expressive towers. Next to the cathedral, you can see parts of the walls that in ancient times surrounded the Roman city. The Cathedral of Saint Croix has an austere and somewhat gloomy Gothic interior.

It is believed that the first church on this site was built in the 4th century. It is one of the earliest Christian buildings in Western Europe. In the 12th century there was built an impressive Romanesque cathedral, which collapsed a century later.

Rue de Jeanne d

Rue Joan of Arc

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Rue Joan of Arc is a wide alley in front of the cathedral created in the 19th century. This pretty street boasts a beautiful view of Saint Croix Cathedral.

Casa de Jeanne d

Joan of Arc House

Streets of Joan of Arc will lead you to the Place Charles de Gaulle, where there is an old medieval house-museum dedicated to the life of the national heroine of France.

If you move on, the next stop is Place de la République. From here you can head to the Loire and see the impressive stone bridge. If you cross to the other side of the river, a beautiful view of the old town is guaranteed.

Jean Dalibert House

House of Jean Dalibert

The House of Jean Dalibert is a medieval house that is one of the most interesting examples of Renaissance architecture. It is located on the outskirts of the pretty Place du Châtelet.

Saint Paul Tower

St. Paul’s Tower

St. Paul’s Tower is a historical monument that dates back to 1627. In 1818, the tower was sold to the parish church of the same name and served as its bell tower. During World War II, the church was destroyed, but the tower survived.


St. Pierre

St. Pierre is a former church that dates back to the 12th century. This old Gothic building now hosts contemporary art exhibitions.



Martroy is one of the central squares of Orleans, which is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings in the style of traditional French architecture. This square was incorporated into the old city in the 14th century. During the Middle Ages, the market and executions were held here.

Rue Royale

Rue Royale

Rue Royale is another historic boulevard in Orleans with beautiful arcades. The street was rebuilt in the 18th century when more than 100 old houses were demolished and new buildings were built in their place.

Rue de Bourgogne

Rue de Bourgogne

Rue de Bourgogne is one of the main streets of the eastern part of the historic center. It is famous for its restaurants, cafes and bars.

Interesting tours

Grand Tour of Montmartre

From €105 for a guided tour

Grand tour of Montmartre

The Moulin Rouge, Dalida’s house, Villa Léandre, the Chateau des Mists and other iconic spots of the bohemian quarter

The Louvre for Kids 6+

from €130 for a guided tour

The Louvre for children ages 6 and up

An educational but not boring adventure which will be remembered by young travelers

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