The Loire and the Loiret, two Orleans highlights
To visit Orleans is to see the Loire…. to understand Orleans’ history is to know the important role played by its royal river, part of an area now a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Depending on the surrounding foliage as well as the water level and the weather, the Loire offers many different atmospheres that evolve with the seasons.
Whether you are here for a long holiday, city break or even just a weekend, you cannot leave Orleans, a green city steeped in culture, without getting to know the Loire…
See the Loire in Orleans
The river forms the border of Orleans’ old town. The waterside offers a perfect moment of respite after visiting Sainte-Croix Cathedral or Hôtel Groslot or pottering around the half-timbered houses and Renaissance buildings in the historic centre.
Come and admire the lock at Orleans canal, the old port which dates from the 19th century, the beautiful houses typical of the region that front onto the river, and Pont Royal (a bridge now known as Pont George V).
Head west after the bridge and you will come across a fascinating diversity of architectural styles, from the Art Nouveau design of 10 Quai Barentin to the contemporary Pont de l’Europe designed by Spanish-Swiss architect Calatrava!
See the Loire in Orleans and its metropolitan area
Not ready to call it a day just yet?
Extend your promenade along the river banks on foot or by bike all the way to Combleux, a picturesque fishing village in the east, or to La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin in the west.
And that’s the Loire à Vélo cycle route!
Tempted to get on the open water?
The Loire and Orleans canal are both navigable! Embark on a traditional Loire boat like a flat-bottomed toue sablière or toue cabanée and enjoy a river cruise while discovering the local flora and fauna.
The banks of the Loiret, a natural escape
This river which lends its name to the department is a tributary flowing from the left bank of the Loire.
The entire waterway falls within the Loire Valley natural region and the perimeter of the UNESCO classified site.
Did you know that the source of the Loiret is located in the centre of Parc Floral de la Source at the point of resurgence known as the ‘bouillon’, where it ‘boils’ or ‘bubbles up’?
Walking on the banks of the Loiret
The Loiret is bordered by 15 kilometres of paths that can be explored on foot or by bike. Whether you’re after a short stroll or a long ramble, start at the Sentier des Prés footpath and continue if you wish along the Les Martinets, La Mothe, Les Tacreniers and La Fosse-Marion footpaths.
Pointe de Courpain, where the Loiret and the Loire converge, lies within the Saint-Mesmin nature reserve. The confluence holds various natural treasures for walkers.
The banks of the Loiret are dotted with watermills, sumptuous properties dating from the 17th century and boathouses. Once used to house boats belonging to the owners of these grand residences, they blend perfectly into the landscape. Did you know that the most famous of them all, the Quétonnière boathouse, was designed by French architect Garnier who also built the eponymous opera house in Paris?
So many beautiful landmarks to see along your way!
Need a guide?
Book a guided tour of Olivet’s watermills on the banks of the Loiret.
This walk takes you on a tour of Olivet’s watermills, the last remaining testaments to traditional livelihoods on the river that have since been converted into houses.