Orleans and the Renaissance | Orléans Val de Loire Tourisme
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Orleans and the Renaissance

Experience Renaissance life in Orleans!

An intellectual movement started in Italy in the Quattrocento (15th century), the Renaissance spread far and wide, arriving in France, and the Loire Valley more specifically, in the early 16th century.

Hôtel Groslot d'Orléans, époque Renaissance, vu des jardins


A former royal city, Orleans was at that time a vibrant and prosperous place owing to its position on the Loire and close proximity to Paris.

It had a well-respected university attended by eminent intellectuals including Erasmus, Guillaume Budé, Rabelais, La Boétie, Théodore de Bèze and Calvin.

The city experienced a sweeping artistic revival, inspired by the Italian art of living that Francis I and others introduced.

Religious buildings were constructed, streets widened, and the wealthy middle classes commissioned large estates. Today, we can still admire their elegant architecture and refined, Italianate decoration, sculpted medallions and busts, as well as half-timbered façades combining stone and brickwork.

Hôtel Groslot, Hôtel Cabu, Hôtel des Créneaux, Maison de la Coquille, half-timbered houses... Orleans has a remarkable collection of original Renaissance monuments and buildings.


Book a guided tour on the theme of the 500-year anniversary of the Renaissance in Orleans and admire the exquisite architecture of the most distinguished buildings in the city.

Also learn about how they have been altered over the years, reflecting city’s opulent wealth and great trade since the 16th century.


Maison à pans de bois de la Poterne, époque Renaissance, Orléans


2019 is the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death at Clos Lucé in Amboise, the laying of the first brick of the Château de Chambord and the birth of Catherine de’ Medici in Florence. The Renaissance steered the kingdom of France onto a new artistic and intellectual course.

Orleans, with its rich Renaissance history and heritage, naturally has a part to play in this regional programme of more than 500 cultural, festive and artistic events planned.

Guided and dramatised history tours of Orleans’ fascinating heritage sites are a big part of the celebrations, along with period art forms and entertainment.  Exhibitions and conferences complete this exciting line-up of events offering a glimpse into the city’s glorious past. Check out the programme!

Logo Viva Leonardo 500 ans de Renaissance(S) en région Centre-Val de Loire


To celebrate one of the major highlights of events taking place in Orleans this year, the Tourist Information Office gift shop is stocking a range of Renaissance-inspired products and souvenirs. Posters, children’s history books, Leonardo da Vinci magnets, postcards and keyrings as well as Leonardo da Vinci and Chambord teas produced by local brand Les Cafés Jeanne d’Arc... A host of items await!