This article is about the French commune of Orléans; for other meanings see Orleans (disambiguation).


France Orleans panorama 01.jpg
Orléans and the Loire River
Coat of arms of Orléans
Orléans is located in France
Country France
Region Centre
Department Loiret
Arrondissement Orléans
Canton Chief town of 6 cantons
Intercommunality Orléans Val de Loire
Mayor Serge Grouard (RadicalUMP)
Elevation 90–124 m (300–407 ft)
(avg. 116 m/381 ft)
Land area1 27.48 km2 (10.61 sq mi)
Population2 116,490  (2009)
 - Density 4,239 /km2 (10,980 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 45234/ 45000
Website http://www.orleans.fr/
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Coordinates: 47°54′09″N 1°54′32″E / 47.9025°N 1.9090°E / 47.9025; 1.9090

Orléans (pronounced: [ɔʁleɑ̃]) is a city in north-central France, about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southwest of Paris. It is the capital of the Loiret department and of the Centre region.

Orléans is located on the Loire River where the river curves south towards the Massif Central.

The city of New Orleans (in French, La Nouvelle-Orléans), in the United States is named after the commune of Orléans.



Orléans is located in the northern bend of the Loire, which crosses from east to west. Orléans belongs to the vallée de la Loire sector between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire, which was in 2000 inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The capital of Orléanais, 120 kilomètres south-south-west of Paris, it is bordered to the north by the Beauce region and the forêt d'Orléans, and the Orléans-la-Source neighbourhood and the Sologne region to the south.

Pont George-V

Five bridges in the town cross the river :

  • Pont de l'Europe
  • Pont du Maréchal Joffre (also called pont Neuf)
  • Pont George-V (also called pont Royal), carrying the commune tramway
  • Pont René-Thinat
  • Pont de Vierzon (rail bridge)

To the south of the Loire (on the "rive gauche") is to be found a small hill (102 m (335 ft) at the pont Georges-V, 110 m (360 ft) at the place du Martroi) which gently rises to 125 m (410 ft) at la Croix Fleury, at the limits of Fleury-les-Aubrais.

Conversely, the north (on the "rive droite") has a gentle depression to about 95 m (312 ft) above sea level (at Saint-Marceau) between the Loire and the Loiret, designated a "zone inondable" (flood-risk zone).

At the end of the 1960s the Orléans-la-Source quarter was created, 12 kilometres (7 mi)to the south of the original commune and separated from it by the Val d'Orléans and the Loiret River (whose source is in the Parc Floral de la Source). This quarter's altitude varies from about 100 to 110 m (330 to 360 ft).

The Loire and navigation

The Loire bursting its banks at Orléans

In Orléans, the Loire is separated by a submerged dike known as the dhuis into the Grande Loire to the north, no longer navigable, and the Petite Loire to the south. This dike is just one part of a vast system of construction that previously allowed the Loire to remain navigable.

The Loire was formerly an important navigation and trading route, but now large ships can only navigate the estuary up to about Nantes.

Boats on the river were traditionally flat-bottomed boats, with large but foldable masts to gather wind from above the river banks but also to allow them to pass under bridges – they are known as gabarre, futreau, and so on, still on view for tourists near pont Royal.

The river's irregular flow strongly limits traffic on it, in particular at its ascent, though this can be overcome by boats being given a tow.

An "Inexplosible"-type paddle steamer owned by the mairie was put in place in August 2007, facing place de la Loire and containing a bar.

Every two years, the Festival de Loire recalls the role played by the river in the commune's history.

Joined to it, on the river's north bank near the town centre, is the Canal d'Orléans, which connects to the Canal du Loing and the Canal de Briare at Buges near Montargis. The canal is no longer used along its whole length. Its route within Orléans runs parallel to the river, separated from it by a wall or muret, with a promenade along the top. Its last pound was transformed into an outdoor swimming pool in the 1960s, then filled in. It was reopened in 2007 for the "fêtes de Loire", with the intention of reviving it and installing a pleasure-boat port there.


Orléans experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), similar to much of central France.

Climate data for Orléans
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.4
Average low °C (°F) 0.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 52
Sunshine hours 65 88 136 160 211 195 217 237 166 113 73 49 1,710
Source: Météo France[1]


Prehistory and Roman

See also Cenabum, Aureliana Civitas.

Cenabum was a Gallic stronghold, one of the principal towns of the Carnutes tribe where the Druids held their annual assembly. It was conquered and destroyed by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, then rebuilt under the Roman Empire. The emperor Aurelian rebuilt the city, renaming it Aurelianum, or Aureliana Civitas, "city of Aurelian" (cité d'Aurélien), which evolved into Orléans.[2]

Accompanying the Vandals, the Alans crossed the Loire in 408. One of their groups, under Goar, joined the Roman forces of Flavius Aetius to fight Attila when he invaded Gaul in 451, taking part in the Battle of Châlons under their king Sangiban. Installed in Orléans and along the Loire, they were unruly (killing the town's senators when they felt they had been paid too slowly or too little) and resented by the local inhabitants. Many inhabitants around the present city have names bearing witness to the Alan presence – Allaines.

Early Middle Ages

In the Merovingian era, the city was capital of the kingdom of Orléans following Clovis I's division of the kingdom, then under the Capetians it became the capital of a county then duchy held in appanage by the house of Valois-Orléans. The Valois-Orléans family later acceded to the throne of France via Louis XII then Francis I. In 1108, one of the few consecrations of a French monarch to occur outside of Reims occurred at Orléans, when Louis VI the Fat was consecrated in Orléans cathedral by Daimbert, archbishop of Sens.

High Middle Ages

Orléans in September 1428, the time of the Siege of Orléans.

The city was always a strategic point on the Loire, for it was sited at the river's most northerly point, and thus its closest point to Paris. There were few bridges over the dangerous river Loire, and Orléans had one of them, and so became – with Rouen and Paris – one of medieval France's three richest cities.

On the south bank the "châtelet des Tourelles" protected access to the bridge. This was the site of the battle on 8 May 1429 which allowed Joan of Arc to enter and liberate the city from the Plantagenets during the Hundred Years' War, with the help of the royal generals Dunois and Florent d'Amiot – lliers.[clarification needed] The city's inhabitants have continued to remain faithful and grateful to her to this day, calling her "la pucelle d'Orléans" (the maid of Orléans), offering her a middle-class house in the city, and contributing to her ransom when she was taken prisoner (though this ransom was sequestered by Charles VII and Joan was only 19 when she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431 in the city of Rouen).

1453 to 1699

Once the Hundred Years' War was over, the city recovered its former prosperity. The bridge brought in tolls and taxes, as did the merchants passing through the city. King Louis XI also greatly contributed to its prosperity, revitalising agriculture in the surrounding area (particularly the exceptionally fertile land around Beauce) and relaunching saffron farming at Pithiviers. Later, during the Renaissance, the city benefited from it becoming fashionable for rich châtelains to travel along the val-de-Loire (a fashion begun by the king himself, whose royal domains included the nearby Chambord, Amboise, Blois, and Chenonceau).

The University of Orléans also contributed to the city's prestige. Specializing in law, it was highly regarded throughout Europe. John Calvin was received and accommodated there (during which time he wrote part of his reforming theses) and in return Henry VIII of England (who had drawn on Calvin's work in his separation from Rome) offered to fund a scholarship at the University. Many other Protestants were sheltered by the city. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known by his pseudonym Molière, also studied law at the University, but was expelled for attending a carnival contrary to University rules.

From 13 December 1560 to 31 January 1561, the French States-General met here. This was just after the death of Francis II of France, the eldest son of Catherine de Médicis and Henry II, on 5 December 1560 in the Hôtel Groslot in Orléans, with his queen Mary at his side.

The cathedral was rebuilt several times. The present structure had its first stone laid by Henry IV, and work on it took a century. It thus is a mix of late Renaissance and early Louis XIV styles, and one of the last cathedrals to be built in France.


When France colonised America, the territory it conquered was immense, including the whole Mississippi River (whose first European name was the River Colbert), from its mouth to its source at the borders of Canada. Its capital was named "la Nouvelle-Orléans" in honour of Louis XV's regent, the duke of Orléans, and was settled with French inhabitants against the threat from British troops to the north-east.

The Dukes of Orléans hardly ever visited their city since, as brothers or cousins of the king, they took such a major role in court life that they could hardly ever leave. Officially their castle was that at Blois. The duchy of Orléans was the largest of the French duchies, starting at Arpajon, continuing to Chartres, Vendôme, Blois, Vierzon, and Montargis. The duke's son bore the title duke of Chartres. Inheritances from great families and marriage alliances allowed them to accumulate huge wealth, and one of them – Philippe Égalité is sometimes said to have been the richest man in the world at the time. His son, Louis-Philippe I, inherited the Penthièvre and Condé family fortunes.

1852 saw the creation of the "Compagnies ferroviaires Paris-Orléans" and its famous gare d'Orsay in Paris. In the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the city again became strategically important thanks to its geographical position, and was occupied by the Prussians on 13 October that year. The armée de la Loire was formed under the orders of général d'Aurelle de Paladines and based itself not far from Orléans at Beauce.

1900 to present

During the Second World War, the German army made the Orléans Fleury-les-Aubrais railway station one of their central logistical rail hubs. The Pont Georges V was renamed "pont des Tourelles".[3] A transit camp for deportees was built at Beaune-la-Rolande. During the Liberation, the American Air Force heavily bombed the city and the train station, causing much damage. The city was one of the first to be rebuilt after the war: the reconstruction plan and city improvement initiated by Jean Kérisel and Jean Royer was adopted as early as 1943 and work began as early as the start of 1945. This reconstruction in part identically reproduced what had been lost, such as Royale and its arcades, but also used innovative prefabrication techniques, such as îlot 4 under the direction of the architect Pol Abraham.[4]

The big city of former times is today an average-sized city of 250,000 inhabitants. It is still using its strategically central position less than an hour from the French capital to attract businesses interested in reducing transport costs.


According to Victor Adolphe Malte-Brun in La France Illustrée, 1882, Orléans's arms are "gules, three caillous in cœurs de lys argent, and on a chief azure, three fleurs de lys Or." Charle Grandmaison, in the Dictionnaire Héraldique of 1861, states that it is "Or, with three hearts in gules", without the chief of France. Sometimes, in faulty designs, we find it described "gules, three fleurs de lys argent, and on a chief azure three fleurs de lys Or."[5]

It is to be noted that the design shown left shows three "cœurs de lys" (heart of a lily), seen from above. This "cœurs de lys" is therefore not a true lily, which would have 6 tepals, but a hypothetical aerial view of a symbolic lily. It has probably also been stylised more and more in heraldry, as in the heart in a pack of cards. Certain authors solve the problem by calling this symbol a "tiercefeuille", defined as a stemless clover leaf, with one leaf at the top and two below, thus making this coat of arms "gules, with three reversed tiercefeuilles in argent, etc".


"Hoc vernant lilia corde" (granted by Louis XII, then duke of Orléans), meaning "It is by this heart that lilies flourish" or "This heart makes lilies flourish", referring to the fleur de lys, symbol of the French royal family.


Public transport

SEMTAO manage buses and tram lines in Orléans. the tram line was inaugurated 20 November 2000.[6]

2 SNCF stations : Fleury les Aubrais and Orléans Centre

Roads and highway

Orléans is an autoroute intersection : the A10 (linking Paris to Bordeaux) links to the commune outskirts, and A71 (whose bridge over the Loire is outside the commune limits) begins here, heading for the Mediterranean via Clermont-Ferrand (where it becomes the A75).


Orléans is served by two main railway stations: the central Gare d'Orléans and the Gare des Aubrais-Orléans, in the northern suburbs. Most long distance trains only stop at the Les Aubrais-Orléans station, which offers connections to Paris, Lille, Tours, Brive-la-Gaillarde, Nevers and several regional destinations.


Orléans is the birthplace of:



  • Musée des Beaux-Arts de Orléans
  • Charles Peguy Centre
  • Joan of Arc's House
  • Fine Arts Museum
  • City's Historical and Archeological Museum
  • Natural Sciences Museum


  • Parc Floral de la Source
  • Motte Sanguin garden
  • Charpenterie garden
  • Plants garden
  • Anjorrant parc
  • Charbonnière parc
  • Moins Roux parc
  • Pasteur parc



Orléans has a basketball team : Orléans Loiret Basket which is in the French first division. The club won the "Coupe de France" of basket ball his first major trophy in the season 2009 - 2010.

Orléans has also a football club the US Orléans which is playing in the French third division. The club wants to play within five years in the second division.

The city has also very well-known clubs in karate, fencing and judo.

In 2012, Orléans will host a stage finish of Paris–Nice.

International relations

Orléans is twinned with:

It has a partnership with:


The University campus is in the La Source area in southern part of the commune.

See also


  1. ^ "Albi" (in French). Météo France. http://france.meteofrance.com/france/climat_france?CLIMAT_PORTLET.path=climatstationn%2F81284001. Retrieved 17 Jan. 2010. 
  2. ^ For an exact etymology, see Cenabum, Aurelianis, Orléans de Jacques Debal (Coll. Galliae civitates, Lyon, PUL, 1996)
  3. ^ World-wide current events of 16 May 1941, available on the site of the INA (direct link).
  4. ^ Joseph Abram, L'architecture moderne en France, du chaos à la croissance, tome 2, éd. Picard, 1999, pp. 28 et 37–38
  5. ^ Grand Larousse encyclopédique in 10 volumes, 163
  6. ^ "History of buses and tram line in Orleans". Web.archive.org. 18 January 2008. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080118104919/http://www.semtao.fr/la_semtao/1998-2002_les_annees_tramway.php?rub=8&sousRub=1. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Patrice Gabin (13 October 2007). "Orléans tourisme : musées à Orléans (Orléans tourism: Museums in Orléans)". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071013041602/http://www.tourisme-orleans.com/musees-orleans.php?id=27. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Patrice Gabin (13 October 2007). "Park and Gardens in Orléans". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071013134308/http://www.tourisme-orleans.com/parcs-jardins-orleans.php. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Embassy of France in Moscow – sister cities[dead link]
  10. ^ "Kraków otwarty na świat". www.krakow.pl. http://www.krakow.pl/otwarty_na_swiat/?LANG=UK&MENU=l&TYPE=ART&ART_ID=16. Retrieved 19 Jul. 2009. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Orléans — Orléans …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ORLÉANS — Chef lieu du département du Loiret, ancienne capitale de l’Orléanais, capitale de la région Centre, Orléans comptait 104 841 habitants au recensement de 1990, l’agglomération 239 854. La ville occupe sur la Loire une position privilégiée. Au… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Orleans — bezeichnet: Orléans, Stadt in Frankreich Grafschaft Orléans, ab dem 14. Jh. Herzogtum Herzog von Orléans, Titel des Herrschers über das Herzogtum Orléans Schlacht von Orléans am 3. und 4. Dezember 1870, Sieg der deutschen Armeen über die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ORLÉANS — ORLÉANS, town in France, S. of Paris. A Jewish community was established in Orléans before 585. During that year, the Jews of Orléans participated in the welcome which was given to King Gontran and appealed to him to be allowed to rebuild the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Orleans — Orléans (homonymie) Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Voir aussi la page d homonymie Comté d Orleans Toutes les localités portant ce nom furent nommées d après la ville française. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Orleans (SC) — Orleans (Santa Catarina) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Orleans (homonymie). 28° 21′ 32″ S 49° 17′& …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Orleans — Orleans, NE U.S. village in Nebraska Population (2000): 425 Housing Units (2000): 240 Land area (2000): 0.605516 sq. miles (1.568278 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.605516 sq. miles (1.568278… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Orleans TV — Orléans TV Création 29 mars 2007 Langue Français Pays d origine  France Statut …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Orleáns — es la capital de la región de Centro (Francia), y del departamento de Loiret. Superficie: 27,48 km² Población: 113.126 (1999) * * * Orleans, Felipe, duque de Orleans, Luis Felipe José de Orleans, casas de (Orléans) ► C. del centro N de Francia,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Orléans [3] — Orléans (spr. ang), Name mehrerer Zweige des französischen Königshauses, deren zwei den Thron Frankreichs bestiegen, von der Grafschaft, dem spätern Herzogtum O., herrührend, das seit 1344 von den Königen aus dem Hause Valois, dann den Bourbonen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Orléans [2] — Orléans (spr. ang), Hauptstadt des franz. Depart. Loiret, liegt 102–120 m ü. M., am rechten Ufer der schiffbaren Loire, die durch den 74 km langen Kanal von O. mit dem Loing und durch diesen mit der Seine in Verbindung steht, und ist ein… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.