My article on a weekend in Orléans, published in France Magazine
In the footsteps of Joan of Arc
Despite its turbulent history (from being seized by the English during the Hundred Years’ War to the devastation of World War II), Orléans enjoyed periods of great prosperity due in a large part to its strategic location on the northern banks of the Loire. Wealthy merchants and royals settled there after the Religious Wars of the 16th century, building stately mansions that can still be admired today. In recent years, many monumental buildings and façades have been restored to their original splendour, making Orléans a visual gem with plenty of historic cachet. It’s no wonder the city was named Ville d’Art et d’Histoire in 2009.
After spending a few months basking in the tranquility of south-west France, I’m craving a cultural rendezvous in a vibrant city, one last French indulgence before heading back home. We could’ve chosen Paris, about an hour and a half further north, but I’m not ready for the full hustle and bustle just yet. Orléans is more compact, easier to explore on foot and still offers plenty of grandeur and urban appeal.