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Orléans

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Europe : France : Central France : Centre-Val de Loire : Orléans
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For other places with the same name, see Orleans (disambiguation).
Chambord Chateau

Orleans (French, Orléans) [1] is the capital of the Centre-Val de Loire region of north-central France, located some 120 km (75 miles) south-west of the French capital Paris.

Understand[edit]

The main reason to travel here is not the city itself, but the many castles in the area. Some of the most famous and beautiful 'Chateaux' in the Loire Valley are: the 'Chateau de Chinon', the 'Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau', the 'Chateau de Langeais', the 'Chateau de Villandry', the 'Chateau de Chenonceau', the 'Chateau d'Amboise', the 'Chateau de Chaumont sur Loire', the 'Chateau de Blois', the 'Chateau de Cheverny' and last, but definitely not least, the 'Chateau Royal de Chambord'. This latter one, probably, is the most famous Castle in France. Visiting it, is not only recommended, but compulsory.

Travel[edit]

By plane[edit]

The best way to get to Orleans by plane is to fly into either one of the two Paris Airports. Most international carriers will service Charles De Gaule (CDG), but most low-cost carriers will service Orly. Orly airport is slightly closer to Orleans if you are driving, but neither airport provides direct services to Orleans and one will most likely have to transfer in Paris.

By train[edit]

Many trains serve the sizeable railway station near Place Jean d'Arc, from Paris, which takes about 1 hour and 25 minutes with regional train, and about 50 minutes with express trains.

From Paris take a SNCF train from Paris's Gare d'Austerlitz to the Gare d'Orleans. These trains run frequently during the day. There is a tram which runs from the train station to the centre of the town.

By car[edit]

Take the A10 motorway south-west from Paris. The trip will be slightly more than and hour, but in rush hour it can easily become a 3 hour trial.

You can also drive along the N20, which is a toll free road, and goes straight from Paris to Orleans. The route can be a bit longer than the Highway as the road takes you through a number of villages.

By bus[edit]

By boat[edit]

Loire river is the main river in the city. It used to be navigable at the beginning of the 20th century.

Getting around[edit]

  • Semtao Tramline and buses run throughout the city of Orleans and the town of Fleury-lès-Aubrais. [2]

Within Orleans the tram runs from the city center down main street to the outlying small towns and suburbs. This does not provide much help to tourists, but can be useful getting to and from the train station.

The best way to travel is by foot or bike. The city is not large so by foot is the best way. Many bike rental stations allow you to use a bike from point A to B for a small fee.

What to See[edit]

  • Ste-Croix Cathedral (La Cathédrale Sainte-Croix)[3]
  • the House of Joan of Arc (La Maison de Jeanne d’Arc) [4]. Most of Orleans in devoted to Jean d'Arc as she liberated the town in medival times. Its hard to walk through the town without seeing Jean d'arc related stuff quite frequently. The house is definitely worth seeing.
  • the Martroi plaza and Joan of Arc statue
  • the Parc Floral (10 km south of down town) [5]
  • the Musée historique et archéologique de l'Orléanais [6]
  • the Musée des Beaux Arts [7]
  • the "Europe Bridge" [8]
  • the Hotel de Ville (City Hall). Where everyone in the city is required to get married, the hotel de ville has breathtaking rooms filled with royal curtains and gold drippings.
  • the Cathedral. With a similar design to Notre Dame in Paris, a visit to Orleans would not be complete without a stop. The Cathedral which can been seen above the buildings from most of the town.
Orléans Cathedral
  • Le Loiret. the border of the Loiret, small river going from La Source to the Loire river. Nice walk along the water with good spots for pic nic or playing outside.  edit
  • Hôtel Groslot is one of the nicest old buildings in Orléans. It's situates at the Place d’Étape. This renaissance building was built in 1550 by Jacques Groslot. Red brick and white stone are the main look. It was restored in the nineteenth century and expanded. It used to be the former City Hall (1790 tot 1982). Other interesting houses: St. –Euverte (12th century) eand St. Paul (16th century).
  • Befroi - the "Bell Tower". This is where the city magistrates who took care of the city walls used to meet in the 15th century. In 1445, a 40 meter high tower was added to give more solemnity to the building. Ten years later, the top part of the tower and a bell were added.

Things to Do[edit]

Walk around the center of town, or along the banks of the river Loire. Barhop. Visit some of the city's great boulangeries.

The city celebrates Joan of Arc during the first week of May with parades, demonstrations, a "medieval market" and sound and light shows.

  • l'Astrolabe 1 Rue Alexandre Avisse, 45000 Orleans. Concert hall dedicated to Modern Music, Reggae, Percus, Techno, French Song, also includes an Ice-skating ring and Dojo. [9]

Billiards (pool) can be a fun way to unwind from a busy day. Orleans has many pool salons and even the bowling alley has a billiards section. Billiards is popular among teenagers on fridays after school, but finding an open table should not be a problem.

Learn[edit]

The université d'Orléans (10 miles south of downtown- well served by the tram line) has partnerships with many foreign universities. French classes for foreigners are available during a semester, year, or summer program. Information at www.univ-orleans.fr.

Work[edit]

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Place d'Arc - This is the square in front of the town's train station. From here you can take a train to Paris or to the other cities in the region. There is a tourist office in the street on our left, follow the signs to get there. In front sits one of the town's main avenues, 'rue de la Republique', at the other end of this avenue sits 'Place du Martroi' --downtown.

In this square there is also the biggest mall in town. You will find everything you need here, from an American burger to a movie theater.

  • In front of the main bridge in town, the 'Pont des Tourelles', used to stand the Châtelet fortress. This fortress was constructed in order to control the bridge. Almost nothing remains today of this old structure. Since the construction of this fortress, this quarter became the town's commercial center. Although markets are not held anymore in the public squares, the quarter has not lost its commercial spirit. In the 20th century, a big covered market, the Halles Châtelet, was built close to where the fortress used to stand.
  • Rue Jeanne d'Arc -This is one of the main avenues in Orleans. And yes, you have guessed it, it is dedicated to our local heroine. The avenue goes from the Cathedral to the 'Place General de Gaulle' --in this latter square sits the house of Joan of Arc. In this avenue you will find some of the most "chic" boutiques in town. Among them, some of the best patisseries in Orleans. Not far from here is one of the town's tourist offices.

Most stores do accept credit cards. The local chocolate factory, Chocolaterie Royale, makes many interesting and delicious souvenirs. Even if you aren't in the mood to buy chocolate, stopping by their store near the town square will amaze you at the way they can mold chocolate.

Many large French and international stores fill Orleans including H&M and Le Galarie Lafayette.

Eat[edit][add listing]

rue de Bourgogne is where almost all the restaurants in the city seem to be. You can find all kinds of food in this street, from Indian to Vietnamese. Prices also vary, from the cheapest fast food restaurants to the most expensive 'haute cuisine' ones

  • Pizzeria Capri 103bis, Rue du Faubourg Madeleine , 45000 Orléans. Great Service, excellent pizza and pasta.
  • Tokyo 14, Place du Chatelet, 45000 Orléans. Really good Sushi. $15-30
  • La Tavola, Les Halles. THE italian restaurant in Orleans. You enter by the kitchen. Pizza and Pasta at good price made by original italian. A must.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

The Rue de Bourgogne is home to the majority of bars, pubs and nightlife of Orleans. Le bord de la Loire (the Loir river bank) is popular among young highschool students as a place for weekend drinking. There are also several concerts held along the Loire River during the summer.

  • Le Petit Barcelone 218, Rue de Bourgogne. Relaxed atmosphere, plenty of tables for sitting around with friends and having drinks.
  • Havana Cafe 28, Place du Chatelet. Indoor and outdoor seating, good place to have drinks with friends.
  • Le Paxton's Head Rue de Bourgogne. Karaoke
  • L'Amazone 105 bis, Rue de Faubourg Madeleine. Night club playing African Zouk, Reggae and Hip Hop music.
  • Antidote, 32 Rue de l'Empereur 45000 Orleans, 02 38 42 73 17. Nice bar, Cosmopolite with all ages and types of people to have a drink (beer, sangria & nice collection of wines) or a french snack (cheese or charcuterie). Good place for people who likes rock music  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The Parc des Alicourts campsite and spa

Budget[edit]

Around 40km south of Orleans on the way to Bourges is the Parc des Alicourts 4-star campsite and spa, a holiday centre with a fishing lake, an aqua park with 4 pools, a plush health spa with hydrotherapy centre, camping pitches, chalets, cottages and a villa for rent.

Within easy reach of the chateaux and attractions of the Loire Valley, offering special offers on family holidays, camping weekends and spa breaks.

New for 2009: Stay in a treehouse The Parc des Alicourts has several new treehouses for 2009, some suitable for family holidays, some for cozy couple weekends. Ideal for getting away from it all.

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

Contact[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Cope[edit]

Get out[edit]

Visiting the castles and houses along the Loire river is a great day trip from Orleans. A must see is Chambord.



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