FROM THE INDUSTRIAL AND MILITARY CITY OF THE 19TH CENTURY TO THE RENEWAL OF THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES

INDUSTRIAL ORLEANS

In the 19th century, the disappearance of river traffic, the arrival of rail (1843) and the development of the industrial centres in the north and the region of Paris made the majority of the activities from the previous century disappear. Other industries took over. Most settled along and next to the western and northern suburbs. Using a lot of labour, they made Orléans an important industrial centre.

THE TURNING POINT OF 1870

The war of 1870 had a severe impact on Orléans. In three months, the city was taken, set alight, liberated and then occupied again by the Bavarians, and then the Prussians. Following this crisis, the government decided to strengthen the military role of Orléans by installing, from 1874, the 5th army corps, which was soon joined by other regiments. These arrivals helped to change the image of the city. Until 1939, Orléans was one of the biggest garrison towns in France.

THE TRAUMA OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR

Unlike the First World War, the Second World War hit the city hard: Orléans was seriously bombarded (June 1940 and May-June 1944). In addition to human losses, it caused irremediable damage to the written and artistic heritage. The fire of the Minims Monastery (1940) led to the disappearance of nearly all of the ancient collections of departmental and municipal archives. The collections of the historical museums also suffered.

ORLÉANS, REGIONAL CAPITAL

Vue panoramique d'Orléans Métropole depuis les hauteurs de la cathédrale Sainte-Croix
 

Today, Orléans and its agglomeration has around 279,000 inhabitants. The city is loyal to its past and develops economy, culture and education while preserving its characteristic quality of life. The listing of the Loire Valley on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 is further recognition of this quality. On the economic level, Orléans is part of the prestigious "Cosmetic Valley”. The city asserts its role as regional capital and is one of the main “balancing metropolises” of the Paris Basin. It obtained the status of metropolis on 1st May 2017.

 

Sources: Orléans Mairie – City of Art and History Department