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Orléans (Municipality, Loiret, France)

Last modified: 2002-07-20 by ivan sache
Keywords: loiret | orleans | joan of arc | jeanne d'arc |
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[Orleans]by Ivan Sache

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Orléans is a city of ca.110,000 inhabitants (220,000 inh. when including the outskirts), located on the river Loire, 115 km South of Paris.

In the Gaul time, the city of Canubium was in the center of the Carnute country and the druids had an annual meeting there. The revolt against the Roman occupation started here in 52 BC. In 451, the city under the protection of bishop St.Aignan resisted victoriously to the Huns of Attila.
During Xth and XIth centuries, Orléans was one of the center of the young Capetian monarchy (the two other being Chartres and Paris).
Orléans is of course famous for the siege of 1428-1429 during the Hundred Years' War and the intervention of Joan of Arc (a.k.a. as 'la pucelle d'Orléans', pucelle being a familiar term for a virgin). The Joan of Arc's festival ('Fêtes Johanniques') has been commemorating these events each spring since 1435 except during wartime. On 7 May, the "very authentic standard" of Joan of Arc is presented to the population.

Orléans is the birth city of the poet and polemist Charles Péguy (1873-1914), who was in the same time Dreyfusard, humanitarian socialist, patriot (he died during First World War) and fervent Roman Catholic.

Orléans is also known for rose gardening and its forest.

There have been four princely houses of Orléans. The second one (Orléans-Valois) is famous for the poet Charles d'Orléans (1394-1465) and his son Louis II (1462-1515), king of France as Louis XII (1498-1515). The fourth one (Orléans-Bourbon) is famous for Philippe II (1674-1723), a.k.a. le Régent' (1715-1723 during the minority of Louis XV), Louis-Philippe Joseph (1747-1793), a.k.a. Philippe-Egalité, who voted for the death of Louis XVI and was himself guillotinized later on, and his son Louis-Philippe II (1773-1850), king of the French as Louis-Philippe I (1830-1848).
Henri d'Orléans (b. 1903), count of Paris and Orléaniste pretender to the throne of France, recently passed away. The members of the Orléans family are buried in the Royal Chapel of Dreux, not far from Versailles.

The Algerian city of Orléansville (later on El-Asnam and now Ech-Cheliff) as well as La Nouvelle-Orléans / New Orleans were named after the Orléans houses.

Ivan Sache, 20 November 1999

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