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Orléans

Orleans20.jpg
Joan of Arc monument.
Coat of arms of Orléans
Administration
Country France
Region Centre-Val de Loire
Department Loiret
Statistics
Elevation 90–124 m (295–407 ft)
(avg. 116 m or 381 ft*)
Land area1 27.48 km2 (10.61 sq mi)
Population2 114,286  (2012)
 - Density 4,159/km2 (10,770/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 45234/ 45000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Coordinates: 47°32′27″N 1°32′36″E / 47.5409°N 1.5432°E / 47.5409; 1.5432

Orléans is a city in France, the prefecture of the Centre-Val de Loire region and the Loiret department.

Geography

Orléans Pont George V 01
Pont George-V
ORLEANS From Flight ORY-MAD 737 EC-LQX (7951291066)
Orléans from above

Orléans is located in the northern bend of the Loire, which crosses from east to west. Orléans belongs to the vallée de la Loire sector between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire, which was in 2000 inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The capital of Orléanais, 120 kilometres southwest of Paris, is bordered to the north by the Beauce region, more specifically the Orléans Forest (French: forêt d'Orléans) and Orléans-la-Source neighbourhood, and the Sologne region to the south.

Five bridges in the city cross the Loire River: Pont de l'Europe, Pont du Maréchal Joffre (also called Pont Neuf), Pont George-V (also called Pont Royal, carrying the commune tramway), Pont René-Thinat and Pont de Vierzon (rail bridge).

To the north of the Loire (rive droite) is to be found a small hill (102 m (335 ft) at the pont Georges-V, 110 m (360 ft) at the Place du Martroi) which gently rises to 125 m (410 ft) at la Croix Fleury, at the limits of Fleury-les-Aubrais. Conversely, the south (on the rive gauche) has a gentle depression to about 95 m (312 ft) above sea level (at Saint-Marceau) between the Loire and the Loiret, designated a "zone inondable" (flood-risk zone).

At the end of the 1960s, the Orléans-la-Source neighbourhood was created, 12 kilometres (7 mi)to the south of the original commune and separated from it by the Val d'Orléans and the Loiret River (whose source is in the Parc Floral de la Source). This quarter's altitude varies from about 100 to 110 m (330 to 360 ft).

The Loire and navigation

In Orléans, the Loire is separated by a submerged dike known as the dhuis into the Grande Loire to the north, no longer navigable, and the Petite Loire to the south. This dike is just one part of a vast system of construction that previously allowed the Loire to remain navigable to this point.

The Loire was formerly an important navigation and trading route. With the increase in size of ocean-going ships, large ships can now navigate the estuary only up to about Nantes.

Boats on the river were traditionally flat-bottomed boats, with large but foldable masts so the sails could gather wind from above the river banks, but the masts could be lowered in order to allow the boats to pass under bridges. these vessels are known as gabarre, futreau, and so on, and may be viewed by tourists near pont Royal.

The river's irregular flow strongly limits traffic on it, in particular at its ascent, though this can be overcome by boats being given a tow.

France Orleans panorama 01
The Loire bursting its banks at Orléans

An Inexplosible-type paddle steamer owned by the mairie was put in place in August 2007, facing Place de la Loire and containing a bar.

Every two years, the Festival de Loire recalls the role played by the river in the commune's history.

On the river's north bank, near the town centre, is the Canal d'Orléans, which connects to the Canal du Loing and the Canal de Briare at Buges near Montargis. The canal is no longer used along its whole length. Its route within Orléans runs parallel to the river, separated from it by a wall or muret, with a promenade along the top. Its last pound was transformed into an outdoor swimming pool in the 1960s, then filled in. It was reopened in 2007 for the "fêtes de Loire." There are plans to revive use of the canal for recreation and install a pleasure-boat port there.

Sister cities

Orléans is twinned with:

It has a partnership with:

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