In 1429 Joan of Arc liberated Orléans from a siege by the English, and the city has never forgotten this event. There are statues in her honour, whole wings in museums about the liberation and an annual festival in May to celebrate it with full ceremony and splendour.
Many tourists rushing to the Loire Valley’s châteaux bypass Orléans, but there’s much to uncover in the old centre, which is bursting with timber houses and renaissance mansions where royalty lived and died. Each monument bears witness to the city’s bloody but enthralling history. If it wasn’t the English it was the Huguenots wreaking havoc!
Lets explore the best things to do in Orleans:
1. Parc Floral de la Source
Welcoming more visitors than any other attraction in the department, the Parc Floral de la Source is a semi-wild park next to the university, where Orléans meets the countryside.
Indeed, you can see how the terrain changes here: The flat river plain and the source of the Loiret host the park’s beautiful flower gardens (dahlias, irises, roses and alpine flowers), kitchen garden, butterfly house and aviaries.
And then you can trundle off up the hill to step onto the Sologne Plateau where there’s deep oak and birch forest, and more animal enclosures with Breton sheep and alpacas.