49 Best Places And Things To Do in Orléans, France

Orléans is a beautiful city located in the Loire Valley region of France. Steeped in history and culture, it offers a perfect blend of ancient charm and modern amenities. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Orléans:

1. Cathédrale Sainte-Croix

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Start your journey in Orléans with a visit to the stunning Cathédrale Sainte-Croix. This Gothic masterpiece is famous for its intricate architecture and stunning stained glass windows. Climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city.

2. Maison de Jeanne d’Arc

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Orléans is closely associated with the legendary figure of Joan of Arc, and the Maison de Jeanne d’Arc is a must-visit attraction. This museum chronicles the life and exploits of Joan of Arc, with interactive exhibits and historical artifacts.

3. Place du Martroi

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The central square of Orléans, Place du Martroi, is a vibrant hub where locals and tourists gather. Admire the statue of Joan of Arc at the center of the square and enjoy the lively atmosphere, surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops.

4. Parc Floral de la Source

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If you’re looking for a tranquil escape, head to the Parc Floral de la Source. This expansive park is known for its beautiful flower displays, botanical gardens, and serene walking trails. Don’t miss the stunning water features, including the breathtaking waterfalls.

5. Musée des Beaux-Arts

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Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Housed in a former 17th-century Benedictine abbey, this museum showcases an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from various periods, including works by renowned artists such as Delacroix and Monet.

6. La Loire à Vélo

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Orléans is a fantastic starting point for exploring the Loire Valley by bike. Join the “La Loire à Vélo” cycling route, which stretches along the Loire River, and take in the picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and historic châteaux along the way.

7. Château de Chambord

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Just a short drive from Orléans, the magnificent Château de Chambord is a must-see attraction. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, with its grandiose design, sprawling grounds, and intricate details. Explore the castle’s interior and stroll through the expansive park surrounding it.

8. Musée Historique et Archéologique de l’Orléanais

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History buffs should not miss the Musée Historique et Archéologique de l’Orléanais. This museum offers a fascinating insight into the history of Orléans and the surrounding region, with a diverse collection of archaeological artifacts, historical documents, and interactive displays.

9. Savor the Local Cuisine

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Orléans is known for its culinary delights. Indulge in traditional dishes like “Andouillette” (a sausage made from pork intestines), “Rillettes” (pork or duck spread), and “Tarte Tatin” (a caramelized apple tart). Pair your meal with some excellent local wines from the Loire Valley.

10. Hôtel Groslot

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Pay a visit to the Hôtel Groslot, a magnificent Renaissance mansion that serves as Orléans’ City Hall. Admire the stunning architecture and explore the opulent rooms, which are often used for exhibitions and cultural events.

11. Les Halles Châtelet

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If you’re a food lover, head to Les Halles Châtelet, a vibrant covered market in the heart of Orléans. Discover a wide range of fresh produce, local delicacies, cheeses, pastries, and more. It’s an ideal spot to immerse yourself in the flavors and aromas of the region.

12. Maison de la Loire du Loiret

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For nature enthusiasts and those interested in the ecological importance of the Loire River, a visit to the Maison de la Loire du Loiret is a must. This educational center provides insights into the flora, fauna, and environmental preservation efforts of the Loire Valley.

13. Theatre and Music Performances

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Orléans has a thriving performing arts scene. Catch a show at the Théâtre d’Orléans, which hosts a variety of theatrical productions, concerts, and dance performances throughout the year. Check the schedule in advance to see what’s on during your visit.

14. Jardin des Plantes

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Jardin des Plantes, a serene botanical garden. Explore its well-manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and tranquil ponds. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic, a leisurely walk, or simply unwinding amidst nature.

15. Canal d’Orléans

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Embark on a scenic boat trip or a leisurely bike ride along the Canal d’Orléans. This picturesque waterway offers a tranquil setting, surrounded by lush green landscapes. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance and admire the charming locks and bridges along the canal.

16. Festival de Loire

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If you happen to visit Orléans during September, don’t miss the Festival de Loire. This grand event celebrates the Loire River and its cultural heritage, featuring boat parades, concerts, art exhibitions, and fireworks. It’s a vibrant and exciting time to experience the city’s lively atmosphere.

17. Day Trips to nearby Châteaux

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Orléans serves as an excellent base for exploring the stunning châteaux of the Loire Valley. Take day trips to renowned castles like Château de Blois, Château de Cheverny, or Château de Villandry. These architectural marvels are filled with history, art, and beautifully landscaped gardens.

18. Musée des Sciences

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Science enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Musée des Sciences. This interactive museum offers a range of hands-on exhibits, experiments, and displays that explore various scientific disciplines, making it a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

19. Île Charlemagne

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Located on an island in the Loire River, Île Charlemagne is a recreational park that offers a variety of outdoor activities. Engage in water sports such as canoeing, kayaking, or paddleboarding, or simply relax on the sandy beach and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

20. Saint-Aignan Church

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Admire the architecture of the Saint-Aignan Church, a beautiful Gothic-style church located in the heart of Orléans. Step inside to appreciate its intricate stained glass windows and peaceful ambiance.

21. Orléans Forest

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Nature lovers should not miss a visit to the Orléans Forest (Forêt d’Orléans). Spanning over 35,000 hectares, it is one of the largest forests in France. Explore the numerous walking trails, go birdwatching, or have a picnic amidst the serene woodland setting.

22. Contemporary Art Center of Orléans

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Art enthusiasts can explore the Contemporary Art Center of Orléans, which showcases a diverse range of contemporary artworks. From paintings and sculptures to multimedia installations, the center offers a glimpse into the vibrant and innovative world of modern art.

23. Cultural Events

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Orléans is known for its lively cultural scene and hosts various festivals and events throughout the year. From music concerts and dance performances to theater shows and art exhibitions, there’s always something happening in the city. Check the local event calendar to see if any cultural events coincide with your visit.

24. Loire River Cruises

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Embark on a leisurely cruise along the Loire River and soak in the scenic beauty of the surrounding landscapes. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride while admiring the picturesque châteaux, vineyards, and natural wonders that line the riverbanks.

25. Shopping in Rue de Bourgogne

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Explore Rue de Bourgogne, a charming street lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and antique stores. Discover unique souvenirs, fashion items, and local crafts as you wander through this picturesque area.

26. Maison des Arts et de la Musique

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Visit the Maison des Arts et de la Musique, a cultural center that hosts various art exhibitions, concerts, and performances. Immerse yourself in the local arts scene and discover the talent and creativity of Orléans’ artists.

27. Quai du Châtelet

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Take a leisurely walk along Quai du Châtelet, a picturesque waterfront promenade. Enjoy the views of the Loire River, admire the historic buildings along the quay, and take in the tranquil ambiance.

28. Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin

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Discover the world of magic at the Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin. This unique museum pays tribute to the famous magician and illusionist Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, who was born in Orléans. Enjoy magic shows, explore interactive exhibits, and learn about the art of illusion.

29. Orléans Cathedral Crypt

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Descend into the ancient crypt beneath Orléans Cathedral. This underground chamber houses archaeological remains and provides insights into the city’s history. Explore the fascinating artifacts and learn about the cathedral’s significance.

30. Les Turbulentes Festival

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If you visit Orléans in June, don’t miss Les Turbulentes Festival. This multi-disciplinary arts festival features theater performances, dance shows, music concerts, and visual arts exhibitions. Immerse yourself in the vibrant and innovative creations of local and international artists.

31. Musée Campanaire

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Step into the world of bell-making at the Musée Campanaire. Discover the history, craftsmanship, and symbolism behind bells through interactive displays and exhibits. You can even try your hand at playing a carillon or see bell-ringers in action.

32. La Halle aux Grains

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Catch a performance at La Halle aux Grains, a historic concert hall known for its excellent acoustics. Experience orchestral concerts, chamber music, and other musical performances in this beautiful venue.

33. Golf de Limère

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Golf enthusiasts can head to Golf de Limère, a scenic golf course located on the outskirts of Orléans. Enjoy a round of golf surrounded by picturesque landscapes, including lakes, forests, and rolling greens.

34. Maison de la faïencerie

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Visit Maison de la faïencerie, a museum dedicated to faience, a type of tin-glazed earthenware. Explore the exhibits showcasing the history, techniques, and artistic beauty of this traditional craft. You can even participate in workshops to try your hand at creating your own faience pieces.

35. Parc Louis Pasteur

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Take a leisurely stroll or have a picnic in Parc Louis Pasteur. This serene park offers lush green spaces, beautiful flower beds, and shaded areas where you can relax and unwind. It’s a perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

36. Local Wine Tasting

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Indulge in a wine tasting experience in Orléans. Visit local wine bars and cellars to sample the region’s renowned wines, such as the fruity and aromatic white wines made from the Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc grape varieties.

37. Musée de l’Apocalypse

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Explore the Musée de l’Apocalypse, a museum dedicated to the famous illuminated manuscript known as the “Apocalypse Tapestry.” Discover the fascinating story behind this medieval masterpiece, which depicts scenes from the Book of Revelation, and admire its intricate details.

38. Place du Martroi Fountain Show

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Witness the captivating Fountain Show at Place du Martroi. During summer evenings, the square comes alive with an enchanting display of water, lights, and music. Watch as the fountains dance in sync with the melodies, creating a magical spectacle.

39. Oratorio Carolingien

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Step back in time at the Oratorio Carolingien, a unique archaeological site showcasing the remains of an ancient Carolingian church. Learn about the history of the site and the architectural techniques used during that era.

40. Orléans Jazz Festival

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If you’re a jazz enthusiast, plan your visit during the Orléans Jazz Festival. Enjoy performances by renowned national and international jazz artists in various venues across the city.

41. Musée de la Marine de Loire

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Discover the rich maritime heritage of the Loire River at the Musée de la Marine de Loire. Explore the exhibits that highlight the history of navigation, traditional riverboat construction, and the importance of the Loire River for trade and transportation.

42. Les Fêtes Johanniques

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Experience the Les Fêtes Johanniques, a historical festival that celebrates the liberation of Orléans by Joan of Arc. The city comes alive with medieval reenactments, parades, and festivities, transporting you back in time.

43. Day Trip to Château de Sully-sur-Loire

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Take a day trip from Orléans to the magnificent Château de Sully-sur-Loire. This well-preserved castle offers a glimpse into the life of nobility during the Renaissance. Explore the elegant rooms, stroll through the beautiful gardens, and learn about the history of the château.

44. Parc Floral de la Source

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Escape to Parc Floral de la Source, a beautiful park known for its stunning floral displays, exotic plants, and serene water features. Take a leisurely walk through the park’s themed gardens, relax in peaceful surroundings, and enjoy the natural beauty.

45. Les Bords de Loire

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Explore Les Bords de Loire, the riverbanks of the Loire River that offer scenic walking and cycling paths. Enjoy the panoramic views, spot wildlife, and take in the tranquility of the river as you stroll along its shores.

46. Musée Historique et Archéologique de l’Orléanais

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Immerse yourself in the history of the Orléans region at the Musée Historique et Archéologique de l’Orléanais. Discover archaeological artifacts, historical documents, and artworks that tell the story of the city’s past.

47. Place du Châtelet

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Visit Place du Châtelet, a lively square in the city center. Admire the fountain, soak up the atmosphere at the surrounding cafes, and perhaps enjoy some people-watching as you relax in this vibrant gathering spot.

48. Musée Historique et Archéologique de l’Orléanais

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Explore the Musée Historique et Archéologique de l’Orléanais, which showcases the history, archaeology, and art of the Orléans region. Discover ancient artifacts, historical documents, and artworks that provide insights into the city’s rich heritage.

49. Maison des Canuts

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Experience the art of silk weaving at Maison des Canuts. Learn about the history of silk production in Orléans, witness demonstrations of traditional weaving techniques, and admire the intricate silk creations.