BUILDING THE ENCLOSURES
THE FIRST ENCLOSURE
In the 4th century, Aurelianis built its first masonry enclosure, undoubtedly linked to the town's accession to the rank of chief town and the presence of a bishop.
The 25-hectare enclosure did not incorporate the whole urban territory.
During the early Middle Ages, two constructed sectors slowly formed, crossing the boundary of the enclosure. Religion dominated in the east of the territory, where many establishments developed close to the enclosure and along the main avenues.
To the west, the hamlet of Dunois (today's Saint-Paul district) grew around a more commercial sector outside the walls.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, the town turned to its river more definitively. The Châtelet, a royal and then ducal residence, formed the seat of the town's political and administrative power; it stands on the bank of the Loire, on the northern side of the bridge. Under Philippe Auguste (1165-1223), the New Tower, a powerful fortress, strengthened this position.
Three successive extensions took place.
The first enclosure, to the west, incorporated the hamlet of Dunois in the 14th century. It protected the port and the bridge. The second extension eastwards, made in 1466-1480, was requested by Louis XI to protect Saint-Aignan collegiate church and Saint-Euverte basilica. Lastly, the enclosure was extended to the west and north-west from 1486 to 556. The current boulevards, called “mails” by the people of Orléans, follow the same route. The south bank was protected only by Tourelles fort.
The last extension was also accompanied with a major urban planning operation from the 15th century. A new urban grid was installed between the former suburbs of Carmes and Bannier: roads and street blocks were laid out according to an orthogonal network which would lead to the rational management of towns in subsequent centuries. In the new enclosed districts, avenues such as Rue Notre-Dame-de-Recouvrance, Rue de la Bretonnerie and Rue d’Escures attracted the construction of mansion houses from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Sources : Orléans Mairie – City of Art and History Department