Festival de Loire à Orléans Festival de Loire à Orléans
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The Loire Festival

The Festival de Loire, Europe’s largest gathering of river mariners, will be held for the eleventh time from 20 to 24 September 2023 in Orleans.

The Loire Festival 2023

Discover the teaser of the largest festival dedicated to the navy

See you on the quays of the Loire in Orleans from 20 to 24 September 2023!

Vue d'ensemble sur le Festival de Loire 2019 à Orléans

A not-to-be-missed event in Orleans, the Festival de Loire takes you away for five days of festivities and celebration of both the greatness of the river navy and the exceptional heritage of the Loire.

Held every two years in September in the old port of Orleans, the Loire Festival brings together hundreds of thousands of visitors, more than 200 boats, 700 sailors and 500 artists to guarantee unforgettable festive moments!

The 11th edition of the Loire Festival will be held from 20 to 24 September 2023. As usual, it invites you to discover the traditional navy and its boats. In 2023, the St. Lawrence river, the famous Canadian river, and the sailors of the Basque Country will be in the spotlight.

Sandpits, barrels, tows and fishing boats are honoured and put on display in nautical demonstrations, boat trains, regattas, jousts and rowing races, dedicated shows and large evening events.

The sailors and bargemen take centre stage for a week to present the culture of inland navigation and the traditions of the royal river. River trips, regattas and nautical activities complete the programme on the water.

You can also take advantage of this event to discover the heritage of the Loire Valley and the Loiret ! Craft skills at the Salon de Loire, local and Loire specialities at the Village de Loire and guinguettes on the quays of the Loire are to be added to your list of things to do !

Bateaux sur les quais de Loire pendant le Festival de Loire à Orléans
Festival de Loire et ses animations

Thanks to the many educational and fun activities set up especially for young people, the Loire Festival can be enjoyed by the whole family on the river. A stroll through the historic city centre, from Sainte-Croix Cathedral to the quays of the Loire, is also the perfect opportunity to discover Orleans in a different light !

With friends ? Have a drink by the water and enjoy a Loire menu in one of the many guinguettes on the Festival site !

In the evening, take a stroll along the quays of the Loire, be surprised by the shows and fireworks and watch the illuminations on the bridges and islands of the Loire, which make the Loire Festival a highlight of the year.

The Loire Festival 2023 in Orleans

The biggest event of the year !

For its eleventh edition, the Festival de Loire will be showcasing the heritage and richness of the Saint-Laurent River in Canada, as well as the sailors of the Spanish Basque Country over the 5 days of the festival.

The programme and highlights of this eleventh edition !

Loire Festival 2023 programme

The bargemen’s village

  • On the culinary side : fish smoking, cooking in cauldrons, Loire wines…
  • Know-how : carpenters, sail makers, ceramists, sail makers, basket makers, fishermen…
  • Animals : draught horses, etc.
  • Exhibitions : models of Loire boats, fishing in the Loire and its gear, etc.
  • Games : sand ball, fort ball, eel game, etc.
These events are organised by associations of Loire bargemen, fishermen, craftsmen and carpenters.

Village of the rivers of France and Europe

  • Basque Country : the story of a gabarre, called Galupe in its country, abandoned and then pulled out of the water thanks to the rescue efforts of the Adoura association. The association will tell you with passion about the evolution of the boat in its historical context on the River Adour, but also about its rescue and the human chain that worked to rebuild it.
  • Netherlands : with its fishermen, herring smokers and Dutch cheesemakers.
  • Italy : with its fishing boats from Cesenatico in the Upper Adriatic, and its museum. With the ABIL Association – Museo Della Barca Lariana and Comune di Cesenatico (Museo della Marineria) and Associazione Vele d’Epoca Verbano, Lago Maggiore.
  • Croatia : with its boat-building workshops and exhibitions.
  • The Mediterranean and the Canal du Midi : as well as finding their boats on the Loire, the Aventure Pluriel association and its partners will be present on the quayside with an exhibition on the restoration work (in progress) on the Barque de Patron “Marie-Thérèse”, a historic monument on the Canal du Midi. They’ll also be showing off their heritage through a range of activities, including rope-making, carpentry, foundry work and Socca tastings.

The village on the Orléans canal

Near the harbour master’s office, associations are organising events based on traditional skills and the history of the Orléans canal. The Nivernais Canal : the Flotescale association will be on hand with its 16-metre-long model! It’ll tell you all about timber floating.

Invited river and region

Through the various players involved in maritime and river heritage, discover this year’s featured river, the Saint-Laurent (Quebec/Canada) and the common history it shares with the sailors of the Basque Country, who are also guests at the Festival de Loire.

Le carré des canotiers

“Canots et canotages, du Saint-Laurent à la Loire” (Canoes and canoeing, from the St. Lawrence to the Loire): an exhibition featuring explanatory panels, as well as participatory workshops on building periscopes and, for younger visitors, making paper canoes and periscopes. Around ten units will illustrate this theme. Some of them will be sailing every day on the Loire or the canal.

The national society for the heritage of lighthouses and beacons

An exhibition of photos of the main lighthouses on the Saint-Laurent will be on show.

Jacques Cartier, discoverer of the Saint-Laurent

An exhibition will tell the story of Jacques Cartier, the explorer who discovered the Saint-Laurent.

The Albaola association

The Albaola association, based in Pasaia, will be presenting an exhibition retracing the history of Basque sailors who went whaling in Newfoundland, as well as events and demonstrations of their skills: shipwrights, blacksmiths, rope makers, etc.

“Le jardin des flibustiers” (Hélène Cadou garden)

Discover a wide range of activities linked to the Loire and the river : the Viking Treasure escape game, the Saint-Laurent river in Lego bricks, model shipbuilding, a participative fresco on the flora and fauna of the Loire, and also the theatrical show “Santa Maria” (Compagnie Via Cane): a street peddler claiming to be like Christopher Columbus, a former sailor on the Santa Maria, will tell the story of his crossing… Show times: Wednesday at 11am, 2.30pm and 5.30pm Thursday and Friday at 10.30am, 2.30pm and 5.30pm – Saturday and Sunday at 11am, 3pm and 5.30pm. Workshops and activities: every day from 10am to 6pm.

“La place des curieux” (car park for the Etablissement Public Loire and Pont Thinat)

Coordinated by the Orléans Museum for Biodiversity and the Environment and run by a number of partners committed to preserving our natural heritage and raising awareness of environmental and biodiversity issues. A number of fun, educational and scientific workshops will be on offer. A bar-game hosted by La Bonne Pioche will provide refreshments and entertainment.

“La récréation” (Quai du Roi)

Don’t miss: the Games and Co workshop! Imagine yourself as a student in an early 20th-century classroom, led by a teacher who talks about the geography, heritage and history of Orléans and the St Lawrence River. You might even be called up to the blackboard to answer various quizzes, location games or photo recognition games. The classroom will also host lectures, seamanship and boat-building workshops, travel diaries, etc. La Récréation is also Accrovoile: thanks to 21st century technology, Accrovoile allows you to climb into a three-masted ship 8 metres high in complete safety. In the spirit of participatory theatre, the audience becomes the actors: climbing, shoeing, reefing, everyone tests their sea legs… and rediscovers the essential gestures of the gabiers of the great sailing ships. And don’t forget the 19th century games : giant wooden board games, cut-out workshops on the theme of the sea and holidays, skittle games, croquet, shuttlecock, diabolo…

Eating out

For lunch, dinner or just a drink by the water, the guinguettes of the Loire Festival open their doors to you. With friends or family, come and sample our specialities with a breathtaking view of the Loire. Between the George-V and Thinat bridges :
  • Guinguette du Pont (mussels and chips)
  • Guinguette de l’Embarcadère (Ligurian and Basque menus)
  • Guinguette de la Cale François Beaudouin (burgers/buckwheat pancakes/grilled meats)
  • Guinguette de la Gabarre (oysters and Basque menus)
  • Guinguette le Boui-Boui (mussels marinière/fries and mussels à la basquaise/fries)
  • Guinguette de la Capitainerie (ostrich-based menus)
  • Guinguette Le Ponton (Québécois sandwiches/vegetarian menus)
  • And on the water, the Bateau-Lavoir (booking required) and the Inexplosible
Quai du Roi :
  • Guinguette du Canal (tartines/charcuterie/cheese)
South bank :
  • Guinguette des Tourelles (burgers/grilled meats/fries)
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