Attractions

Top Choice Cathedral in Orléans

Cathédrale Ste-Croix

In a country of jaw-dropping churches, Gothic-style Cathédrale Ste-Croix still raises a gasp. Originally built in the 13th century, it underwent tinkering by successive monarchs after being partly destroyed by Prote…
Top Choice Gallery in Orléans

Musée des Beaux-Arts

Orléans’ five-level fine-arts museum is a treat, with an excellent collection of Italian, Flemish and Dutch paintings (including works by Correggio, Velázquez and Bruegel) as well as a huge collection of work by Fre…
Top Choice Church in Val de Loire & Forêt d’Orléans Area

Oratoire de Germigny-des-Prés

One of France’s few Carolingian-era churches, this exceptional oratory – sadly, over-restored in the mid-19th century – is renowned for its unusual Maltese-cross layout and gilt-and-silver mosaic of the biblical Ark…
Chateau in Val de Loire & Forêt d’Orléans Area

Château de Sully-sur-Loire

With its machicolated ramparts (featuring holes for pouring boiling liquid on attackers), soaring round turrets and steeply pitched roof, this fairy-tale castle was built, starting in 1395, to defend one of the Loir…
Museum in Orléans

CERCIL – Musée-Mémorial des Enfants du Vel d'Hiv

Between 1941 and 1943, more than 16,000 Jews were interned in two camps about 50km northeast of Orléans, Beaune-la-Rolande and Pithiviers. The adults were deported first, and only after authorisation had arrived fro…
Monastery in Val de Loire & Forêt d’Orléans Area

Abbaye de St-Benoît-sur-Loire

Home to about 40 Benedictine monks, this abbey – shut down during the Revolution and reopened in 1944 – is known for its Romanesque basilica, whose 11th-century crypt houses the relics of St Benedict (480–547). Visi…
Historic Building in Orléans

Hôtel Groslot

The Renaissance-style Hôtel Groslot was built between 1530 and 1550 as a private mansion for lawyer and bailiff Jacques Groslot; it became Orléans’ city hall during the Revolution. The neo-Renaissance interior decor…
Museum in Orléans

Musée d'Histoire et d'Archéologie

The centrepiece of this history museum, in the Renaissance-style Hôtel Cabu, is an extraordinary collection of Celtic and Gallo-Roman bronzes, recovered from the Loire’s sandy bottom. Our favourites: an almost-life-…
Square in Orléans

Place du Martroi

In the centre of Orléans' main square, a bronze statue (1855) depicts Joan of Arc atop a prancing steed; nearby there's a carousel (merry-go-round). A food market sets up here on Friday evening from about 4pm to 10p…
Museum in La Sologne

Maison des Étangs

The exhibits here, which focus on La Sologne's 3000 étangs (ponds) – all of them human-made over the past millennium – come alive on guided tours, available in English.