Top French Cities - Orléans at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Orléans Val de Loire Tourism Office at

City region: Loire Valley / Centre-Val de Loire

Population & what they are called: 114,977 inhabitants (2014 census), called Orléanais

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

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Joan of Arc, Orléans city savior in the 13th century

  • Charles Peguy, poet and essayist

  • Marion Cotillard, actress

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Orléans is sometimes called the 21st arrondissement of Paris.

  • The Loire Valley is the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in France.

Notable sites:

  • Cathédrale Sainte-Croix – a jewel of neo-Gothic architecture with stained-glass windows depicting scenes from the life of Joan of Arc

  • Place du Martroi – the heart of the city, with a central equestrian statue of Joan of Arc

  • Hôtel Groslot – a 16th-century mansion that has hosted kings and is today the town hall

Top annual events:

  • Fêtes Johanniques – a celebration of the liberation of the city by Joan of Arc through medieval reenactments and markets, street theater, tradition music concerts and a grand parade

  • Jazz or Jazz (aka Festival Orléans Jazz) – a free jazz festival during the month of June (

  • Festival de Loire – a biennial event (odd years only) that is said to be the largest inland marine festival in Europe (

Most notable museums:

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts – one of France's oldest provincial museums, with collections of European art from the 15th to 20th centuries

  • Musée-Mémorial des Enfants du Vel d'Hiv – a stirring memorial to the 4,400 children sent to Auschwitz and Sobibor in World War II (

  • Maison de Jeanne d'Arc – set in a recreated half-timbered house where Joan of Arc stayed in 1429, a discovery of the life of Joan of Arc and her time in Orleans (

Culinary specialties:

  • Cotignac d'Orléans – quince jelly with a history dating back to the Middle Ages

  • vinegar and mustard – an industry that grew out of the opportunity presented by spoiled wine offloaded throughout history in Orléans

  • macarons aux fruits d'Orléans – a new sweet specialty showcasing local flavors like strawberry deglazed with vinegar, rose petal confit, pear and ginger

Local wines & spirits:

  • Orléans AOC wines – based entirely on the quality of locally grown grapes

  • La Johannique beer – the local white brew with hints of honey and spice that are supposedly a reminder of the city's heroine


  • Rue de Bourgogne and surrounding streets – Orléans’ main street, notable for its pubs, night clubs, restaurants and shops

  • Place d'Arc – a shopping center with 65 stores located in the city center on Place Albert Premier

  • Martin Pouret – a family-run vinegar business more than 200 years old and the last place following the slow, traditional fabrication methods (

Most popular night spots:

  • Rue de Bourgogne – where most of the drinking action can be found

  • Ver di Vin – a high-tech underground wine bar with options from all around the world

  • Paxton's Head – one of the better jazz clubs

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • parks – of the 16 in total, the Parc Floral de la Source (the source of the Loiret River and site of an amazing butterfly house) and Jardin des Plantes (including an internationally renowned rose garden) stand out

  • riverside paths – the quays and paths along the Loire, now rehabilitated, are a favorite place to stretch one's legs and, in the seasonal guinguettes, pause for a drink or a meal

  • cycling – the famous and excellent Loire à Vélo bike paths pass right through Orléans

Local industries:

  • Cosmetic Valley – brings together companies like Christian Dior, Gemey, Shiseido, Sephora and Caudalie into a national center of competitiveness that makes the region number two for cosmetics and perfumes

  • logistics – Orléans and region are France's third-largest logistics hub with about 400 companies that specialize in packing, warehousing and transport

In Pop Culture:

  • Burning Heads – a punk rock and reggae band originally from Orléans

  • The Dreamlife of Angels (La vie rêvée des anges) – a 1998 film drama starring Élodie Bouchez and Natacha Régnier about two penniless young women who become friends

  • New World (Le nouveau monde) – a 1995 film with James Gandolfini and Alicia Silverstone

Major 2020 developments:

  • In 2000 a 170-mile stretch of the Loire Valley and the sister region of Western Loire were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from Sully-sur-Loire in the Loire Valley to Chalonnes-sur-Loire in the Western Loire.

About Top French Cities -

Top French Cities is an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals like Bordeaux to important towns like Avignon and Versailles. They are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget. Most of these cities are university towns with a youthful atmosphere, but all of them reflect the heritage and distinctive flavors of the regions to which they belong. Many are forward-looking too, with historic buildings repurposed to house contemporary art and activity centers like Les Docks in Marseille. Many have created or integrated new, modern museums to contrast with their classical, architectural heritage, like in Nimes, where the cutting-edge Museum of Roman Civilization (Musée de la Romanité) is located across from the historic Roman amphitheater, or in Nantes, where whimsical mechanical creatures are being created, or in the UNESCO World Heritage Site concrete city of Le Havre.


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency