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In the heart of the lush Loire Valley, Orleans is best known as the scene of Joan of Arc’s triumphant victory over the English that ended the seven-month Siege of Orleans in 1429. Stained glass windows and monuments in the 13th-century cathedral of Ste-Croix, as well as several other sites in the city recall her life. Maison Jeanne d’Arc was not actually her house, but she stayed there – or at the original one, which was destroyed by a firebomb in 1940 and replaced by this reproduction. The displays inside are especially good for children. Plaques, monuments and street names remind visitors of the city’s liberator at every turn. The ...

In the heart of the lush Loire Valley, Orleans is best known as the scene of Joan of Arc’s triumphant victory over the English that ended the seven-month Siege of Orleans in 1429. Stained glass windows and monuments in the 13th-century cathedral of Ste-Croix, as well as several other sites in the city recall her life. Maison Jeanne d’Arc was not actually her house, but she stayed there – or at the original one, which was destroyed by a firebomb in 1940 and replaced by this reproduction. The displays inside are especially good for children. Plaques, monuments and street names remind visitors of the city’s liberator at every turn. The outstanding Musée des Beaux Arts is strong in works by Flemish, Italian and Dutch painters of the Renaissance period, but has a good collection of modern art as well, with works by Dufy, Renoir, Monet, Picasso, Miró, Braque and Rodin. Garden lovers will want to visit the Musée de Sciences Naturelles, the natural science museum, for the large tropical greenhouse on the top floor. The closest of the famous Loire Valley chateaux, the French Renaissance castle of Chambord, is also the largest, although it was built by François I as a hunting lodge.

Juliette Rogers
About the Expert

Juliette Rogers is coauthor of the guidebooks Eating New England: A Food Lovers Guide to Eating Locally, Secret Providence and Newport, and two Thomas Cook guides on France.

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Juliette Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Orleans is located in north-central France, about 130 km (80 miles) southwest of Paris.
  • Language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Orleans, France
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, fall and summer are all good seasons to visit; winter can be damp and gray.