After being back in Rambouillet only a couple of weeks after the holidays, I already had the itch to travel again. I guess you could say I have caught the travel bug! Looking at the map of France, I knew we didn’t want to venture too far from Paris for only one night so Orléans seemed like the perfect spot! Located just south of Paris, Orléans is about an hour away by train and is located on the Loire river.
Thomas and I set out early Saturday morning to catch our train from Gare Austerlitz in Paris. Once we arrived at the station we found our train and settled in for the ride. We had brought some lunch with us on the train to eat as we went along, so by the time we were finished eating, we were almost in Orléans. Coming out of the train station, we immediately saw our Ibis Gare hotel right across the street and went to check in. I can definitely recommend this little hotel for a budget friendly, clean, place to stay for the night.
After dropping off our bags, we explored the city. Not unlike Paris, there are beautiful buildings with the charm of old world architecture and cobblestone streets. We made our way to the center of the city and found a giant ferris wheel still set up from the Christmas celebrations.
We checked out a few shops as the sales in France are still on, and made our way over to the old part of the city. This part of Orléans was mostly destroyed in WW2, but there are still a few old buildings left that now house antique shops, boutiques and small restaurants. I found a beautiful shop called Esprit d’Autrefois located at 5 Rue Parisie. Full of French style home decor pieces, the boutique was in an old building and resembled the inside of a cave, but it was painted cloud white which made it feel quite magical. Or course I had to buy a couple of pieces! So, one teapot and picture frame later we carried on through the old part of town.
Coming to the St.Croix Cathedral we stopped to take some photos of the impressive church and also of old City Hall across the street. There is a tram that runs through Orléans and right past the Cathedral making it easy to get around the city and also makes great photos!
The next morning, we checked out of your hotel and found our way to a Sunday market selling local fruits and veggies. I love the atmosphere of French markets and this one was small, yet still interesting to walk through and buy some fruits for the train ride home. We still had a few hours until our train back to Paris, so we decided to walk along the Loire river. It is a beautiful pathway with many people walking, bicycling and even rollerblading along the shore. It was so nice and sunny that we took our time, even resting on a bench overlooking the river for about an hour.
After soaking in the sunshine, we stopped for drink in a little cafe and then headed back to the train station to catch our train. Overall, I would recommend Orléans for a weekend getaway from Paris, or even just a day trip. The city is filled with things to see and do from shopping to history to walking along the Loire river.