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Located just one hour from Paris, attractive Orléans in central France is charming in every sense of the word. Featuring whitewashed, perfectly-preserved facades, a bustling town centre that never feels too busy and a lively waterfront bordering the Loire River, the city is a popular stop for those visiting the Loire Valley.
Best known for its links to Joan of Arc (which is hard to forget given there are statues, dedications and even an annual celebration dedicated to the saint), it also has a proud maritime heritage thanks to its coveted spot on the waterway. For those who still need convincing that the city is well worth a stop, here are the best things to do in Orleans France to see its adorable, photogenic side.
1) When it put up this gorgeous colourful umbrella display which is the thing Instagram dreams are made of.
2) When schoolchildren rode the antique carousel and splashed around in the fountains in the sun-soaked main square, Place du Martroi.
3) When the half-timber houses proved to be the perfect photo-op.
4) When this sculpture was erected near the waterfront as temporary artwork, and people realized it’s so cute that they should probably keep it.
5) When a moment of solace away from the hustle and bustle of city life was found on this quiet side street.
6) When the architecture of important civic buildings like city hall and the courthouse impressed.
7) When shopaholics and people-watchers got their fix along Rue de la République.
8) When the afternoon sun softly lit the impressive Cathedral Sainte-Croix, a 17th century gothic cathedral which is considered to be the city’s most significant monument.
9) When the Loire River was filled with boats for the bi-annual Festival de Loire, which sees the waterfront transformed into a festival celebrating the city’s maritime heritage. Revellers don medieval-era costumes and take part in food and fun, as a flurry of traditional boats descend on Orléans. The festival concludes with a spectacular fireworks display.
10) When one of those boats had horses on it. Because why not.
Where to stay in Orléans
- Villa Marjane: A nice respite from the busy city, this property is like mix between a B&B and hotel just outside Orleans and one hour from Paris. Guests love the idyllic gardens and excellent service. Click here to book
- Hotel d’Orleans: The beautiful, modern rooms at this hotel in the city centre are a nice change from the more traditional types typically found in this area. Breakfast is included, the top sights are at your doorstep, and it’s very well priced. Click here to book
Book a Loire Valley tour
Globe Guide explored Orléans as part of the #FranceNature challenge in collaboration with Atout France and Air France. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles.
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