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An important city in French history, Orléans is less than 2 hours’ drive from Paris.

I’m in a good position to tell you about Orléans, since we were both born there and lived there for over twenty years.

Orléans isn’t a city with dozens of activities, but some of them are enjoyable. I’ve selected 11 for you.

Visit the Sainte-Croix d’Orléans cathedral

Orléans’s Sainte-Croix cathedral is one of the city’s architectural gems.

Built from 1601, this impressive church is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture. It’s probably the best photo opportunity in town. Step into Rue Jeanne d’Arc for a unique view of the cathedral.

cathedral orleans
From the Rue Jeanne d’Arc, Orléans Cathedral looks magnificent. | Source : ColorMaker /

The cathedral has a rich and eventful history. It has undergone several restorations over the years, notably after being severely damaged during the Second World War.

It measures almost 140 meters in length and its spire reaches 88 meters in height. Inside, visitors can admire the magnificent stained glass windows, pointed vaults and sculptures adorning the walls.

Like all cathedrals, you can enter the interior free of charge. Tours of the top of the cathedral are available by prior arrangement. During my school years, I was lucky enough to take one, and it was a wonderful discovery, since from this height, you have a superb view of Orléans.

Concerts are held here from time to time. I also recommend this venue for Joan of Arc festivities. The end of the parade is usually at the foot of the cathedral, and the day before, there’s a ceremony on the forecourt.

Exact address: Place Sainte-Croix


Discover the Groslot hotel

The Hôtel Groslot is one of Orléans’s most emblematic historic monuments. Built in the 16th century, this former mansion is located in the heart of the city. It became Orléans Town Hall in 1790, after the French Revolution.

The architecture of the Hôtel Groslot is impressive, with sculptures, cornices, balustrades and high windows.

hotel groslot
The Hôtel Groslot is a historic building in Orléans. | Source : Adrien Le Toux /

Inside, visitors can admire the magnificent painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, colorful tapestries and antique portraits.

The Hôtel Groslot is surrounded by gardens, offering a haven of peace right in the center of town. The last few times I visited these gardens, there were very few visitors. I prefer them to city parks like Parc Pasteur or Jardin des Plantes.

This hotel is of great architectural and historical significance to the people of Orléans, as despite periods such as the 1870 war and the Second World War, it has managed to remain in very good condition.

Exact address: 2 place de l’Étape


Visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans

The Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans is a leading art museum located in the heart of the city. It houses a vast collection of works of art from the Middle Ages to the present day.

I must confess I’ve never been inside. It’s the last straw for a native Orleanian who loves museums!

However, the reviews I can read or the feedback from friends who have seen it are positive.

Among the artists on display are works by Nicolas Poussin, Eugène Boudin, Théodore Géricault, Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot.

It’s not very large, but lasts around 1h30.

Exact address: 1 rue Fernand Rabier


Visit Joan of Arc House

joan arc house
The Maison Jeanne d’Arc and its half-timbering, an old and rare style | Source : ilolab /

The Maison de Jeanne d’Arc in Orléans is a historical museum dedicated to the life and legacy of the famous French heroine. It is located near the Sainte-Croix d’Orléans cathedral, in a historic house dating from the 15th century.

Joan of Arc is very important to the city of Orléans, and is celebrated by the people of Orléans on May 8. She remains “the one who saved Orleans from the English.”

The Maison Jeanne d’Arc is beautiful, and it’s always interesting to see such an old dwelling. The interior is disappointing. You only have access to a tiny part, and the visit mainly consists of watching a fifteen-minute video recounting the life of the Pucelle d’Orléans.

It’s a visit to be made without expecting too much.

Exact address: 3 Place du Général de Gaulle


A stroll in the Parc Floral de la Source

The Parc Floral de la Source d’Orléans is an enchanting botanical garden located south of the Loire River.

It houses a collection of rare and exotic plants, as well as numerous themed gardens, ponds, waterfalls, butterfly greenhouses and even a labyrinth.

It appeals to people who want to stroll in a quiet place. Children love it. My parents used to take my nieces there.

However, the entrance fee of €6.50 seems excessive.

The rest of the La Source area is not the best place for a tourist. There’s little to see and a large, unsafe neighborhood. Once south, I’d recommend exploring the banks of the Loiret in a town like Olivet.

Exact address: Avenue du Parc Floral


Visit the Hôtel Cabu – Museum of History and Archaeology

The Hôtel Cabu is a small, old museum. It was founded in 1823 by the Count of Bizemont-Prunelé.

Formerly a purely archaeological museum, it also became a historical museum in 1855.

It comprises 4 main collections:

  • A collection of bronze statues dating from Gallo-Roman times
  • Information on local medieval architecture
  • A presentation of the Loire navy
  • A few additions related to Joan of Arc.

It takes about an hour to visit, and admission costs a few euros. Don’t expect the Musée du Louvre, but it’s still an interesting experience.

Exact address: Square Abbé Desnoyers


Attend an event at Comet

comet orleans
Concrete seating, black seats, a modern style for this large hall.

Comet is the pride of the current municipal team. Inaugurated at the end of 2022, this large venue is part of an imposing complex comprising a 10,000-seat sports and concert hall and an exhibition park.

Major events have been announced for the coming months and years. From French national team matches to concerts by major international artists, the program looks promising.

If you’re in Orléans and are planning such an event, book your tickets. I went to the inauguration and was surprised by the modernity and comfort of the hall. Its quality is rare in France.

Exact address: rue du Président Robert Schuman


Visit the Museum of Natural Sciences

The Orleans Natural Science Museum is dedicated to the preservation and study of nature.

Even though I haven’t visited for fifteen years, I know the place. When I was at school, I went there two or three times a year. Since my last visit, it has improved considerably. It’s probably the best children’s museum in Orleans.

You’ll discover a wealth of information on flora and fauna. Temporary exhibitions are often organized. I remember seeing one on mushrooms. If you take your time, the visit can take up to 3 hours.

It takes place in a large 4-storey building. The showcases and interior layout allow you to stroll around calmly while admiring as much as possible.

Exact address: 6 rue Marcel Proust


Visit the Frac Centre-Val de Loire

frac orleans
Eye-catching exterior architecture | Source : ColorMaker /

The Frac Centre-Val de Loire d’Orléans moved to rue du Colombiers in 2013.

Its aim is to promote contemporary art. This is evident from the outside. The building has an original architectural form that surprised everyone in Orléans.

It houses over 400 works by architects and artists, approaching 1,000 models and 17,000 drawings.

Price is an asset. Admission is currently €4 for adults and €2 for children. Self-guided tours take place three days a week, with reduced opening hours. Don’t forget to check the website before you visit.

A careful visit takes between 1 and 2 hours.

Exact address: 88 rue du Colombier


Strolling along the banks of the Loire

The north bank offers some of the best spots for strolling along the banks of the Loire. From the Pont de l’Europe, a pedestrian and cycle path several kilometers long awaits you.

I prefer its central location, close to the Pathé cinema on Place de Loire.

loire orleans
The banks of the Loire offer a long path for walking.

The lower quays are paved. There are several places to sit with a view of the Loire. In warm weather, many Orléans residents like to walk, run or relax here.

Address: to the south of the city center, you arrive on the quays of the Loire.


Relaxing on Île Charlemagne

Île Charlemagne is not in Orléans, but in Saint-Jean de Blanc. However, it’s only a few minutes’ drive from downtown.

Entrance is free, and there’s a large parking lot right at the entrance. Inside the park, you’ll find a large path that circles the water. Several kilometers of peaceful walking await you.

In recent years, the facilities have improved. There are sports fields and a number of fee-paying activities, such as a tree course. In summer, you’ll have a great time.

A swimming area opens in summer. It is supervised. However, it is sometimes closed for hygiene reasons. Indeed, in this branch of the Loire, the water stagnates and sometimes, bacteria proliferate. So I prefer to go there for a walk or to rest on the sand, rather than for a swim.

Exact address: Levée de la Chevauchée – 45650 Saint-Jean-le-Blanc (town near Orléans)


Activities near Orléans

As you can see, Orléans is not overflowing with activities. But within a 30-minute drive, there are plenty of other places to visit. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:

  • Meung-sur-Loire castle
  • Chamerolles castle
  • A walk in the Orléans forest
  • The Musée de la Marine de Loire in Châteauneuf-sur-Loire.
  • Take a tour of the gardens at Château de La Bussière.
  • Château de la Ferté Saint-Aubin.
  • Sully-sur-Loire castle


As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!