What to see in Orléans | 6 unmissable weekend experiences

What to see in Orléans | 6 unmissable weekend experiences


What to see in Orléans over a weekend? Discover our favorites and 6 unmissable experiences for a successful citybreak.


Just 1h15 from Paris and at the gateway to the Châteaux of the Loire, I’d like to invite you to spend a weekend discovering the pretty city of Orléans, the city of Joan of Arc’s heart, which was liberated from the English on May 8, 1429 by the “Pucelle”.

Orléans, capital of the Centre Val de Loire region, is a lovely discovery, an ideal city to get away from it all, and a first for me. How many times have I walked past it without ever stopping! If you’re looking for nature, activities, walks, culture and good food, this is the town to visit with friends, family or lovers. Orleans has charmed me, so check out my 6 must-do experiences here




Orléans town center was renovated 10 years ago. A fine initiative by the mayor, who has removed the roughcast on the facades of the houses and highlighted the original colors of these beautiful half-timbered houses! Today, the town is bright with cobblestones lining the pedestrian streets. The old town stretches out on either side of the Rue de Bourgogne, and the center is not very large. No matter, you’ll always have your nose in the air, either to photograph the half-timbered houses, or to stop in front of the humorous works of art above the street names (Les Orléanais make some pretty funny puns, and I find the concept original), or to admire some street art and renewed every year on the occasion of the Roads Orléans Festival.



  • Visit the cathedral and Hôtel Groslot

We began our tour with the Hôtel Groslot, located very close to the cathedral. Behind this superb red-brick façade lies a museum. It was first a Hotel from 1549 to 1558, before becoming the Town Hall from 1790 to 1981. Now restored, visitors come here to discover numerous Jeanne d’Arc memorabilia, admire fine paintings, move from one salon to another, and listen to the stories and destinies of François II and Catherine de Médicis.

→ Open weekdays and weekends from 9am to 7pm in high season. Free admission or guided tour available with the tourist office.



The highlight of the show comes just afterwards. We set off to visit the beautiful Saint Croix Cathedral, a Roman Catholic Gothic cathedral and one of the 5 largest Gothic cathedrals in France. With a length of 140 metres, a width of 53 metres and a spire reaching 106 metres, it’s an eye-catcher all the same. I have to admit that I was more impressed by the elegant facade and its protruding roofs than the interior, but the visit is well worth it. It took 600 years to build, but in the end it’s a true architectural gem where Joan of Arc prayed, and it was Henri IV who launched its reconstruction in 1601.

Did you know that this cathedral is one of the few churches, and perhaps the only one in the world, whose pillars do not bear crosses?

Get some height. To admire the cathedral’s roofs, you’ll need a guide and climb the 252 steps. The view from the summit is superb and allows you to discover from another angle, the roofs, facades, squares and gardens of Orléans, as well as the Loire River.

→ Admission is free. Open weekdays and weekends from 9.15am to 7pm in high season.

→ Cost of cathedral roofs + Hôtel Groslot guided tour: €7.5/p. Tour duration: 1h30

→ For safety reasons, access is forbidden to children under the age of 12

Free tour with CityPass Orléans Métropole. Valid only on the day the CityPass is used.



  • Learn something new on a guided tour of the city and its museums

If you’d like to know more about the history of Orléans, what better way than with a guided tour to explore the city from top to bottom? Your guide will tell you all about the Loire River, old Orléans and Joan of Arc’s house (3 Place du General de Gaulle cost €6/p admission).

You are trendy museums ? I invite you to make the Museum of Fine Arts because itis one of the oldest in France. It opened in 1797, just after the Louvre. You won’t find less than 700 Italian, Flemish, Dutch and French works on permanent display. I didn’t know it, but the Musée des Beaux-Arts is one of the richest public collections in France and one of the 5 largest in France, with collections ranging from the 16th to the 20th century.

Admission 6€/p. Allow 1h30 on average for the visit. Free admission on the first Sunday of the month. The ticket gives you access to the Hôtel Cabu and the Maison de Jeanne d’Arc on the same day.




Thanks to Citypass, you’ll be able to make some savings and benefit from free must-see sites, discounts and vouchers for leisure activities, restaurants, hotels and retailers. The CityPass also gives free, uninterrupted access to the Maison de Jeanne d’Arc, the Musée des Beaux-Arts and Musée of History and Archaeology.

➡️ For history buffs, for those with children or teenagers, I suggest a and solve riddles in Orléans. that will take you to unusual places. Information and reservations here.

➡️ For those who wish to be independent, I offer a guided tour of Orléans with audioguide. From Sainte-Croix Cathedral to the quays of the Loire and the Burgundy Quarter, rediscover the city at your own pace.





Right in the heart of Orléans, you’ll find French know-how, the Maison Martin Pouret which has carried on the tradition of the Grands Maîtres Vinaigriers Moutardiers since 1797. In the Middle Ages, the Loire was used for trade, particularly wine. When they arrived in Orléans, the wines that had been spiked on their journey down the Loire were unloaded here and used as raw materials by the city’s many vinegar and mustard makers. At the time, in the 19th century, some 300 vinegar makers were working here.

Today, the process has not evolved and remains the same as in the past: selected white and red wines are transformed into vinegar thanks to a slow three-week fermentation, then aged in oak barrels for over a year. To my surprise, they also produce mustard. And I thought manufacturing was the exclusive preserve of Dijon! Well, no, the mustard seeds (stone-ground) come from the Loire Valley, so they’re local, unlike other brands which use seeds from Canada. Orléans mustard is made here from Guérande salt and Orléans vinegar, since mustard contains vinegar.

The store offers tastings of these specialties from Orléans: vinegars, mustards and gherkins. We’re particularly fond of tomato mustard, mustard confit and cranberry juice vinegar, to be served with fresh fruit such as melon or peach.


Maison Martin Pouret: 11 rue Jeanne d’Arc. Count 35€/p la visited’1h30


Kiwi confit with orange mustard | Strawberry and poppy vinegar | Melon cream of vinegar with cranberry juice




The Loire à Vélo it’s a fun experience to do. This 900 km-long cycle route links Cuffy to Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, just opposite Saint Nazaire. There’s plenty to pedal! Orléans is a must-see stopover for cyclists. The flat paths along the banks of the Loire are numerous and well laid out in the form of greenways reserved for non-motorized vehicles.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, in the heart of nature, just 10 minutes from the city center. You’ll pass bucolic little villages and I recommend a lunch stop at La Marine in Combleux. For starters, try the escargot puff pastry with garlic butter or the ceviche duo, followed by either the pike quenelles with crab coulis or the pike-perch soufflé with Nantais butter, both house specialties. Expect to pay between €25 and €40 for a dish.





Just a 20-minute drive from Orléans, you’ll find the magnificent La Ferté-Saint-Aubin castle dating from the 17th centurye century. It was here, on Saturday evening, that the youth of Orléans came together and we took part in the garden party. The gardens are then transformed into a guinguette with foodtrucks, a pallet bar, cushions on the ground, and an electro ambience led by Cocoricoelectro. It’s a night not to be missed for the venue and the rather original evening, which turns into an open-air nightclub as the hours go by.

Admission €14/p, open every Friday and Saturday evening in summer from 7pm to midnight.

You’ll also find daytime games for all ages and all the family: from Escape games to egg hunts, horror nights for the less timid, and riddles to solve, the castle offers a multitude of leisure activities. More info here on their website.





The Loire is France’s largest river, classified as a World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, we might as well tell you that The river rides are plentiful in and around Orleans! Every year Orléans Loire Festival,Europe’s largest gathering of river mariners, with over 200 boats from the Loire and other rivers!


  • Old boat trip

From Empreinte Hotel, 10 minutes on foot, you can walk along the banks of the Loire towards the quai Châtelet to join Axel, a passionate Orléans history buff and captain of the Épinoche boat.

Aboard this old wooden barge, and in less than 10 minutes of sailing, you’ll arrive in a different setting, in unspoilt nature, on small sandy islets where birds and herons live. This little cruise is bucolic, quiet and only lasts 30 minutes, but throughout the cruise, the Captain’s comments will plunge you into another era.

8€ for a 30-minute tour and 15€ for a 1-hour tour. It is also possible to privatize the boat for 6 people or more for 15€/p



  • Canoeing on the Loire

For canoe enthusiasts, head to Combleux for an accessible and enjoyable 2-hour paddle. No particular difficulties, this outing is suitable for the whole family.

Information and reservations directly on destinationh2o.fr




Thanks to Citypass, you’ll be able to make a few savings and benefit from free admission to must-see sites, discounts and vouchers for leisure activities, restaurants, hotels and retailers. The CityPass also gives free access to the Parc Floral de la Source and a 30-minute river ride.




If you’ve got a bit of time on your hands, and an extra day to spare, I invite you to discover the Loire and Loiret chateaux, whose reputation is well established. We didn’t have time to go there over a weekend, but think about it. The list includes one of the best-known, located less than 1 hour from Orléans, the Chateau de Chambord with its 5400 hectares of forest, classified as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1981 and emblem of the French Renaissance throughout the world. There’s also the Château de Cheverny, the Château Royal de Blois and more intimate châteaux like the Château de Meung sur Loire and its 2,000 unusual objects.


Practical information Orleans


We stayed 2 nights at l’Empreinte Hotel & Spa 4*. I recommend this hotel for several reasons. First, its location. It’s located on the banks of the Loire, France’s last wild river, and just a 5-minute walk from the town center. This pretty 19th-century residence has been completely renovated in a modern style, with different styles on every floor. From the all-white room with its marbled bathroom, to the black and gold room, or the room decorated with Orléan motifs, everything is done to make your stay as pleasant as possible. A spa with Jacuzzi, hammam and sauna is also available, and a great way to unwind. Breakfast is very good and varied, and is served in their pretty, cosy lounge. In summer, the hotel bar is outside, on the hotel patio terrace, and parties are organized on Friday and Saturday evenings in “Mama Shelter” mode.

→ Prices: from €130/double room with rooftop view and €175 for a view of the Loire.



➡️ If you’re looking for other types of accommodation, you can always find what you’re looking for here.

➡️ If you prefer to book an apartment, I suggest save €40 on your Airbnb reservation

  • In the vaulted cellar of the Ver Di Vin (2 Rue des 3 Maries). Expect to pay between €35 and €60
  • La taverne d’Orléans for brunch or breakfast (1 Place de Loire). Expect to pay between €20 and €35
  • Rose & Léon, le garde manger located in a pretty half-timbered house. A unique concept in Orléans combining delicatessen, wines and spirits, fresh produce and a restaurant from 12 noon to 2 p.m. (5 Rue du Petit Puits). Expect to pay between €15 and €30 for a starter or main course.
  • La guinguette de la « Sardines» on the quays of the Loire for its location. (1 Place du Châtelet)



I’m sure you won’t miss Rue de Bourgogne for a drink. The terraces are packed in summer, and there’s a wide choice of bars.

  • Visit bar boui boui for a relaxed atmosphere with a breathtaking view of the Loire River.(La Capitainerie, quai du fort Alleaume)
  • Visit Bar de Loire, a popular bar with a small beach and cosy terrace. (14 quai du châtelet)
  • La guinguette de la “Sardine”
  • Wine spouts (8 place du Châtelet – Everyone who has been to Orléans has told me about it!)
  • Mojito’s bar for a little rum in Orleans, right in the middle of the Rue de Bourgogne ( 227 rue de Bourgogne)
  • The Ten Barrels to test a good beer (206 rue de bourgogne)





I hope this article has inspired you to discover Orléans and its historical, cultural and natural heritage. You may not have thought about it before, but you can still change your mind.

Don’t forget to read our other articles on France, such as Paris, for a unusual discovery of the city.









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