Medieval city of Orléans on the Loire

Monday, 29 August 2011 - 03:01 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Architecture, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Jeanne d'Arc monument © Pc fish

Jeanne d’Arc monument © Pc fish

Orléans 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 (still called 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.

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. 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 sequestred by Charles VII and Joan was only 19 when she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431 in the city of Rouen).

Saint-Paterne church © Croquant Rue Royale © Croquant Rue de la Cholerie © Croquant Rue de la Cholerie © Croquant Pont de l'Europe © Nitot Place du Martroi © Croquant Place du Châtelet © Croquant Place du Châtelet © Croquant Place de la République © Croquant Place de la Loire © Croquant Mediatheque © Nicolas Guilmain Jeanne d'Arc House © Vermessen Hotel Groslot - Town Hall © Cancre Fountain on Place Sainte-Croix © Croquant Orléans Panorama © GIRAUD Patrick Orléans on the Loire river © Marc Liger Orléans Cathedral © Honge Jeanne d'Arc monument © Pc fish
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Fountain on Place Sainte-Croix © Croquant
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).

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 8000 French and Cajun 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.

Read more on City of Orléans, Orléans Tourism, Orléans University, Wikitravel Orléans and Wikipedia Orléans. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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