I've been planning to go to Loire Valley for its beautiful nature and the famous "Chateaux". It was holiday on 24th May, so I decided to make a short trip to Orleans
, at least to see one or two of those fantastic Castles. I woke up early in the morning on 21st and went to Brussells to pick up my friend Ayse, who would be my partner. She was waiting at the main door of her apartment and we directly started our trip. Unfortunately the main highway to Paris
from Brussells was closed due to construction and my navigation tried to put us through to the highway several times. therefore we lost 45 minutes until we found our way to Paris.
After a short stop for breakfast and coffee we were on the road again and we didn't stop till Paris. There was an incredible traffic jam around Paris. So we lost another 1 hour in the traffic until we reached the exit for the south direction. There was a terrific queue on the highway to Lyon
but we turned to the south. After 1.5 hours we were at Orleans.. The city of Jeanne D'Arc. It is also famous for its fabulous cathedral Sainte Croix. First we found a parking and then went to discover the city. We started with the Cathedral. The weather was quite warm but windy so we went inside to see the beautiful stained glass windows. There was a training for the church choir and the children were so cute.
(They were all bored and talking to each other) After taking several pictures inside and outside of the cathedral we went to visit Hotel Groslot. Before that we stop by the Tourist info center and got our city maps. Hotel Groslot is one of the main landmarks of the city. It was used as the city hall but now it is a museum. We have been told that the interior design and the rooms and the furniture are amazing but we couldn't get in the building. There were a couple of wedding ceremony so we took some pictures from the facade. There is a statue of Jeanne D'Arc at the front garden of the building. The story of this French heroine is quite interesting. She was the daughter of a rich farmer family. In 1429 when the English troops besieged Orleans and made it impossible to bring food inside the city, Joan of Arc convinced Charles VII, and with a small army she went to Orleans.
Although she was injured by an arrow in her shoulder, her army freed the city. On May 8th 1429, the English troops left the city. This victory had a very positive effect on the moral of the French army. The English were not invincible any more. Since 1430 a celebration takes place in the city to commemorate this event. But the story of our heroine does not end here. After her victory in Orleans, Joan went to
Paris where she was defeated. She was captured in Compiegne
and judged for sorcery.
Joan was sentenced to prison. On May 30th 1431 she refused to reconsider her beliefs, and was sentenced to burn in a public bonfire. Although some historians still insist the woman who died in the fire was not her, it is almost sure this is the way she died. In 1456 she was considered a martyr and a symbol of the unity of France.
We started to discover the streets from Rue Jeanne d'Arc which is starting in front of the Cathedral. We turned from the first left to see the old town before the riverside. The narrow streets were ending small squares and around those squares there were restaurants and cafes. After walking down to left crossing different squares we finally reached to the river Loire which was honored as "world Patrimony" by its region.
There was a bridge 100 meters ahead, named Pont George V. Then we followed the main road from the bridge (Rue Royale) and reached to another landmark of the city, Place du Martroi. 'Place Martroi' is one of the main squares in Orleans. Three big avenues converge in this square: 'rue Bannier', 'rue de la Republique' and 'rue Royale'. In the middle of the square sits a statue of the local heroine, Joan of Arc. There were a Carousel in the middle of the square and some American indian were making music and were trying to sell their CD's. We had our cold beers at one of the cafes around the square and had some rest.
The weather was getting warmer so we decided to discover more before we go to our hotel. First of all we wanted to find the restaurant that we made a reservation for dinner.
It was on the Rue de Bourgogne. There were lots of restaurants, cafes and bars on that street. You can find all kinds of food in this street, from Indian to Vietnamese. Prices also vary, from the cheapest fast food restaurants to the most expensive 'haute cuisine' ones. Our restaurant was La Petite Mermite. I wanted to confirm our reservation, but it was closed at that time. After taking pictures on the street we went to the car park. Then we went to our hotel. The hotel (Suite Home Saran) was new, and in a slightly run down area north of Orleans, but there is good free parking and welcoming staff. After check in I asked help from the reception to confirm our reservation at the restaurant. After then we had shower and had some rest at our room.
At eight o'clock we went back to Orleans. After parking the car we walk down to the Rue de Bourgogne again. La Petite Mermite is a very nice and cozy restaurant. Outside tables were full so we went inside. The decoration inside was so beautiful. The food was also so tasty and wonderful. After having our coffee we felt so tired for the first day and went back to the hotel at midnight.