City summary: Orléans

Press release


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.

Fun Facts

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

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

Significant Site

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

Extraordinary Exhibit

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

Delectable Delights

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

  • Orléans wines: based entirely on the quality locally grown grapes

Legendary Local

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