ORLEANS – www.tourisme-orleans.com
The Loire Valley – France’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site – is known as the “garden of France.” It includes nearly two dozen castles and their grounds used as residences by French royalty. Some of the major Loire Valley centers, like Orléans, also have roots that go back at least to Roman times, given their key locations along the river. Orléans also has special significance as the town liberated by Joan of Arc in 1429. Note to cyclists: the Eurovéloroute N°6 passes through Orléans (and the surrounding world-class wine region) on its way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea.
Orléans is sometimes called the 21st arrondissement of Paris.
The Loire Valley is the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in France.
Cathédrale Sainte-Croix: a jewel of neo-Gothic architecture with stained-glass windows depicting scenes from the life of Joan of Arc
Musée des Beaux-Arts: one of France's oldest provincial museums, with collections of European art from the 15th to 20th centuries
Cotignac d'Orléans: quince jelly with a history dating back to the Middle Ages
Orléans wines: based entirely on the quality locally grown grapes
Joan of Arc: the famous 17-year-old who led the liberation of France from the English and changed the country's fortunes in the Hundred Years' War
Also in the Area
Blois: pole position is held first by the royal castle, home to seven kings and centuries of sometimes bloody intrigue, and second by a captivating magic museum
Château de Chambord: the largest castle in the Loire Valley, built in a Renaissance style as a hunting lodge and surrounded by extensive grounds and a 20-mile-long wall
Château de Cheverny: a private castle renowned for its magnificent interiors and collection of furniture, tapestries and objets d'art
Access from Paris
by road: about 1 h 10 min (80 miles) via the A10 autoroute L'Aquitaine
by train: about 1 h 5 min by an Intercity service from the Gare d'Austerlitz
For more about what to see and do in and around Orléans, including on the “Design & Romance” itinerary, visit www.topfrenchcitybreaks.com