The Loire streaming through the city
Joan of Arc in the Place Martroi
Although Orleans owes much of its fame to Joan of arc, the city today still has many other attractions on offer. Stone-built treasures such as the gothic Sainte-Croix Cathedral. Colorful treasures in the Butterfly House at the La Source Floral Park, which can be seen on a stroll among exotic specimens; one activity among many to choose from.
Musical treasures at the Campanaire Bollee Museum which will ring bells with visitors when they see a lesson on how to make this unique musical instrument. Treasures from the past at the Orleans History and Archaeology Museum with an exceptional collection of Gallo-Roman bronze statues. The Groslot Mansion (16th century), where Charles IX, Henri III and Henri IV all stayed, built by the bailiff Groslot, is also well worth a visit, as is the Fine Arts Museum and its famous Pastels Cabinet.
Some historic figures are associated with Orleans. Clovis held an important council here in 511, as much in religious terms as in political terms. The capital of one of the four kingdoms created on the death of the Frankish king, two centuries later, Orléans played a leading role in the “Carolingian Renaissance”.
The troubled times of the Hundred Years War did not spare Orléans. The siege of the town, lifted in 1429 by Joan of Arc, marked the start of the recapture of territories occupied by the English.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, the town was considered to be one of the most beautiful in France. The number of churches and townhouses increased. However, the Wars of Religion greatly disturbed this prosperity when Condé turned Orléans into the capital of the insurrection. The town suffered a devastating siege and its ramparts were dismantled.
The 1914 War stole the town’s children and the Second World War struck at its very heart causing widespread destruction. During the years following its liberation by General Patton’s troops, Orléans undertook a huge reconstruction campaign.
In the 1960s, the town was marked by population growth and industrial decentralisation, and by the creation of the La Source neighbourhood, where the University Campus and the Floral Park were set up.
Today, loyal to its past, Orléans is focusing on developing the economy, culture and teaching in order to maintain the quality of life for which it has always been famous. It affirms its role as regional capital with great dynamism.
This edifice recalls that the first cathedral testified to on the site of the present-day building dates from the 7th century. Since that time it has collapsed, almost been destroyed but the transept’s facades were built between 1627 and 1680. At that time Louis XIV was the King of France. As a tribute to him, a sun in his effigy was added to the transept’s rose window accompanied by his motto “Nec pluribus impar” (None his Equal).
From 1702, the architect Jacques V Gabriel entrusted the sculptor, Jules Degoullons, with realising the choir’s stalls and panelling. The official inauguration of the cathedral’s portal was held on 8 May 1829, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the delivery of Orléans by Joan of Arc.
Place du Châtelet:
A few houses still offer a relatively precise idea of its rich physiognomy in the Renaissance. One of the most interesting remains from this period is, without a doubt, the so-called Maison de Jean Dalibert, an Orléans trader. Built in the 1560s on the site of a medieval house, it has used the same layout and proportions.
In the same way as Square du Châtelet (No.18 to 26), the main building on the street has a tall and narrow main facade and, on the ground floor, a deep shop and side corridor overlooking a small rear courtyard.
The stone façade shows a similar arrangement to the upper floors. The wealth of its decor was a sign of the wealth of those who occupied it: semi-circular arches, gemelled bay windows, pilasters and cartouches. The poultry market used to be held at the foot of this house.