Feel our top 5 sensory experiences in Orléans…
See museum collections. Three are particularly worth a browse: the Musée Historique et Archéologique de l’Orléanais, with its rare collection of Gallo-Roman bronze statues; the Musée des Beaux-Arts, home to fine pastels; and the FRAC Centre, a leading centre of contemporary art housed in a striking building nicknamed ‘Les Turbulences’.
Hear the celebrations at the Fêtes Johanniques, which commemorates the liberation of Orléans by Joan of Arc in 1429. Every April and May sees a special series of concerts, exhibitions, sound and light shows, a medieval market and processions entering the town through the Port de Bourgogne.
Smell fruit orchards. The area around Orléans is nicknamed the ‘Garden of France’ due to its abundant orchards that thrive in the fertile soil. Local market stalls are groaning with apples, plums, peaches and strawberries – but the best aroma is of a golden, bubbling tarte Tatin fresh from the oven.
Taste wine! The Loire Valley is the third largest area of appellations in France with a wine route of over 800km, and is one of only 10 European winegrowing regions to have UNESCO World Heritage status. Sip a glass of Sancerre at one of Orléans’ riverside bars, known as guinguettes.
Touch the handlebars of a bike or tiller of a boat on a trip along the Loire river. Orléans has regenerated its riverbanks in recent years, from which a variety of nature-focused excursions are possible.
One of France’s oldest towns and a recognised Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (Town of Art and History), Orléans’ history revolves around Joan of Arc, responsible for its liberation in 1429. The Sainte-Croix cathedral is a marvel of Gothic architecture with and Orléans’ centre has been spruced up in recent years, comprising a newly-paved pedestrian district and creative lighting that showcases the numerous artist and artisan boutiques. In summer the open-air ‘La Sardine’ café is abuzz with live music, an ideal place to sip a glass of Loire wine and soak up the laid-back atmosphere.
Getting to OrléansBy air: Paris-Orly Airport (124km)By train: 1h from Paris; 2h30m from Nantes; 4h from BordeauxBy road: A10 from Paris
Further information:Orléans Tourist Office2 Place de l’Étape45056 OrléansTel. +33 (0)2 38 24 05 05[http://www.tourisme-orleans.com/en/accueil/*](http://www.tourisme-orleans.com/en/accueil/)*