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Elegant Orléans, on the north bank of the Loire river just 100kms south of Paris, is a buzzing, cosmopolitan city, but with a wonderfully preserved - and pedestrianised - medieval heart. Orléans has been an important settlement since before the Romans arrived, but it’s probably still most famous for Jeanne d’ Arc, who had one of her great successes here, and Orléans is littered with monuments keeping her memory and importance alive. Some of the best places to stay in Orléans can be found in the pedestrianised centre between the river and Rue Jeanne d’Arc.
In the Middle Ages Orléans was one of only three centres with a bridge across the dangerous river Loire, the others being Paris and Rouen, so it grew rich and beautiful on the tolls. Many of the city’s great monuments and landmarks were built in this period, including the grandly Gothic Cathédrale Ste-Croix - where Joan prayed in May 1429, and which has actually been added to and modified by subsequent kings, including Louix XVI, who added the stained glass depicting Joan’s life.
If that’s not enough detail on Joan of Arc, get a further overview at the Maison de Jeanne d’Arc, a museum in the reconstructed house where she stayed during April and May 1429.
Orléans also has an impressive fine arts museum with an excellent collection of well known painters, a Museum of History and Archaeology - which also has several depictions of Joan - and a museum about he Jewish experience in Orléans during WWII.
There's a number of notable buildings along its wide, shady boulevards, and it’s a great centre for exploring some of the local Loire châteaux, or the nearby wine regions.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Orleans are ideal bases, whether you're simply passing through or are planning to stay and explore the wider area.
For central location
- The Hotel de L'Abeille is in the pedestrianised centre of Orléans, and has 26 Louis XIV style rooms with brightly coloured wallpapers and fabrics. There’s also a roof terrace, though some rooms have a balcony as well.
Just out of town
- Just outside of Orléans, the Relais Louis XI is a 14 room hotel converted from former stables. Despite the exterior, rooms are modern, with wooden floors, wrought iron furniture and lovely bathrooms. The hotel is surrounded by a quiet, pretty garden and there’s a restaurant with a good seasonal menu. With rooms starting from £64 this is also a great value spot in the Loire.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Orléans for you? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Orléans, widen your search to include all our recommendations in the Loire valley or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Orléans
Hotel de L'Abeille 26 rooms from $92Orléans
This unique hotel, now in its fourth generation of the family is located in a pedestrian area of Orleans. Each room is decorated in Louis XIV style with vibrant wallpapers and furnishings. Some rooms have balconies and for those that don't there is a roof terrace. An organic breakfast is served.Sights nearby - Visit the famous Cathedrale Ste-CroixGreat walks - Through the Parc Floral OrleansLocal markets - Good for local colour.Full of character
Relais Louis XI 16 rooms from $86Orléans (Meung-sur-Loire)
Hotel in former stables by the Loire. Contemporary rooms have wooden floors, wrought iron furniture and lovely bathrooms. Excellent seasonal menu in the restaurant. Pretty gardens for relaxing with a drink. Authentic, quiet and good value.Country Escape - Historic converted stables on the riverside.Great walks - Take a relaxing stroll along the river.Sights nearby - Visit the lovely Chateau de Meung.Full of characterRecommended by - Fodors