Orléans Cathedral Guided Tour

The Orléans Cathedral is not like the other. Nearly totally destroyed during the religious war, it has been rebuilt in the modern era in its original gothic style by the decision of King Henri IV of France. Such a case can only be compared with the Cologne Cathedral. The Chevet’s chapels are the only remains of the original 13th-century gothic basilica, even if some much older remains (to ancient Rome) have been found underground. Our cathedral visit is also an Orléans Walking Tour as we will show you the most relevant buildings all around including the famous salle des Thèses.

Photo of the Sainte-Croix facade to illustrate an Orléans Cathedral guided tour in the Loire Valley, France.

Visit Orléans: Cathedral tour – The Orléans Cathedral Sainte-Croix. © Broaden horizons

Orléans Cathedral Private Tour Essentials

59 € for 1 to 2 people + 6 € per extra person

  • Private +/- 1.5-hour walking Tour in English
  • Really private tour = your party only (6 people max.)
  • Postgraduate (MPhil) certified French national guide
  • Flexible time schedule 7/7 if available
  • Online booking & payment


Your Private Guide in Orléans

Certified French national guide.
Centre-Loire Valley Region accreditation (VAH).
BA, Magna cum laude, Heritage Developpement & Preservation at Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers.
Postgraduate (MPhil) from Paris Dauphine-PSL University.

Why an Orléans Cathedral Guided Tour?

The Orléans Cathedral is an exceptional structure like none other :
After the Middle Age gothic edifice was nearly totally destroyed by the Huguenots (Protestants) during the religious war, king of France Henri IV decided to rebuild the cathedral in its original style and laid the first stone of the edifice with Marie de Médicis the 18 April  1601.

His descendants continued to sustain the project tirelessly, and it was finally Charles X, the last of the Bourbon kings, who 228 years later inaugurated the edifice.

It is, in France, a unique case of the construction of a gothic cathedral in the modern era. An excellent reason to follow an Orléans Cathedral guided tour.

Photo of a stained glass of the Cathedral Sainte-Croix depicting the king of France Henri IV to illustrate an Orléans Cathedral guided tour in the Loire Valley, France.

Stained glass window by L. Ottin workshop depicting King Henri IV of France visiting Orléans Cathedral ruines in 1598, 20 years after its destruction. This is after this visit that the king decided the cathedral reconstruction initiated in 1601 © Broaden horizons

Two More Reazons to Visit the Orléans Cathedral

1. An Edifice With a Very Ancien Origine

Despite the present edifice being built in the modern era, the Orléans Cathedral has a history that dates back to the Gallo-Roman period and to the prestigious Roman Cathedral which has held a few French kings’ coronations.

Some remains of the first edifices still exist in the basement of the present cathedral, unluckily a visit there is not possible.

2. A Strong Relation Between Joan of Arc and the Orléans Cathedral

First, because Joan of Arc went to the Orléans Cathedral for a mass.
Second, because the Orléans Cathedral is rich in Joan of Arc iconography as for example the famous 10 stain-glass windows depicting the epic of the heroine.

Photo of a stained glass depicting Joan of arc live to illustrate a visit of Orléans Cathedral in the Loire Valley, France.

Orléans Cathedral Guided Tour: The entry of Joan of Arc in Orléans April 29 of 1429: One of the 10 Sainte-Croix cathedral stained glass windows by the master glass artist Jack Galland and the painter Esprit Gibelin depicting Joan of Arc live © Broaden horizons.

Orléans Cathedral Guided Tour Content

This tour is not only a visit to the Orléans Cathedral, it is also an Orléans guided tour around the monument. The tour is organized in 5 levels

1. The Exterior of the Cathedral

On one hand, we will study the chronological construction, for example how Louis XIV (the sun king) left his mark here, and on the other hand, we will speak about some interesting statues sculpted by famous artists such as Jean-Antoine Houdon, Augustin Pajou, etc.

2. The Links Between the Cathedral and its Environment

Joan of Arc street, the remains of the Canonical district and the ancient Gallo-Roman city wallBishop Palace, Campo Santo, etc.

3. Disapared Monuments All Around the Cathedral

Hôtel Dieu, Saint-Michel and Saint Pierre-Lentin Churches, Saint-Anne and Saint-Lazare Chapels.

4. Linked With the Previous Level a Concise But Dense Architecture Review

  • Middle Age stones houses.
  • Flamboyant Gothic stone houses.
  • Half-timbered houses.
  • Renaissance.
  • 17th / 18th Classic.
  • 19th century Neo-gothic and Neo-classic.

5. The Interior of the Cathedral

Our guided tour will learn about the vast structure of the building with its double aisles. We will also speak of the furnishings and the interior décore widely influenced by the neogothic style and also about old masters painting hung on the cathedral walls.
Last we will mention the Joan of Arc iconography of the cathedral.

If you are especially interested in Joan of Arc we propose a Joan of Arc Orléans Walking Tour which includes a dedicated halt in the cathedral.

Amazing things You Will Learn About during the Orleans Cathedral Tour

The choir of the former Romanesque cathedral is still there under the one of the gothic structure it is one of the very first examples of cathedral deambulatory (no visit possible).

Close to the cathedral are a lot of points of interest as :

Crossing of former Gallo-Roman main streets Cardo and Decumanus.

Orléans oldest house, probably built around 1265, five years before the death of Louis IX (Saint Louis) in Tunis during the 7th crusade.

One of the first public squares created at the very beginning of the French Renaissance.

You will also see that the former benedictine monastery of Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle is now the head of the Loiret departement (préfecture).

Last you will also discover what finally became the former chapel of the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Know More About Orléans

Orleans is before all a city of the Loire Valley strategically located in the northern point of the Royal River. This exceptional geographical situation is one of the reasons for the importance of Orléans in French history.

Nowadays Orléans is the capital city of the  «Région Centre-Val de Loire » (Loire Valley region), the core city of a 281 899 inhabitants urban area.

Orléans has a dynamic economy and takes advantage of its proximity to Paris which is easily reachable in +/- one hour by intercity or regional trains.

Orleans city is also involved in tourism with a city center which is part of the Loire Valley territory covered by the UNESCO accreditation. Orléans’ rich cultural heritage is also recognized by being listed as « villes d’art et d’histoire » (cities of art and history) the French heritage label.

Photo of Sainte-Croix Sun king rose to illustrate an orleans Cathedral Guided Tour in  Loire Valley, France.

Orléans Cathedral tour: The Orléans Cathedral Sun-King rose: King Louis XVI was also involved in the  rebuild of the cathedral  the original stain glass of the time is still there, it was build by a famous italian glass maker Bernardo Perrotto installed in Orléans in the 17th century © Broaden horizons

More About Your Visit to the Orléans Cathedral

The Sainte-Croix Cathedral (Orléans Cathedral) is the most famous monument in the city. Its high profile stands out against the skyline on the Loire bank which enables one to easily recognize the city of Orléans. The cathedral is conveniently located in the city center.

A Monumental Architecture

  • Harmonic facade
  • Double aisle
  • Flying buttress
  • Narthex
  • Transept
  • Rayonnant gothic
  • Flamboyant gothic

An Impressive Size

  • Length: 140 meters
  • Height of the towers: 88 meters
  • Height of the spire: 114 meters
  • Transept exterior width : 65 meters
  • Facade width: 53 meters

This means that Orléans Sainte-Croix is 12 meters longer than Paris Notre-Dame, meanwhile, its towers exceed Paris by 19 meters..

By the way, did you know that the spire of Orléans Cathedral served as a model for the one of Paris Notre-Dame.

Architect Viollet-le-Duc asked carpenter Mister Bellu to build Paris spire in 1860 one year after he finished the one from Orléans cathedral. The Paris Notre-Dame spire which disappeared in the 15 April 2019 fire was smaller than the Orléans one by 18 meters.

Visit the Orléans Fin Arts Museum

During your Orléans Cathedral guided tour, you will see that the original Gothic monument was destroyed during the mid 16th century and reconstructed from the beginning of the 17th century to the mid 19th century. If you are interested you should consider a visit to the Orléans Museum of Fine Arts which covers the period in depth. This museum is a treat! You should not miss it! 

Our Museum of Fine Arts Guided Tour will help you to make the most of your visit to Orléans.

Photo of half timbered houses to illustrate the Orleans Cathedrale tour in Loire Valley, France.

The visit of the cathedral is also an Orléans walking tour as you will discover on the way some of the most relevant buidings around the cathedral: here some colorfull half timbered houses © Broaden horizons

More Religious Architecture to Discover if You Visit Orléans

  • Saint-Pierre-du-Pullier, from 12th century (Orléans).
  • Saint-Donatien church, from 12th century (Orléans)
  • Our Lady of Cléry-Saint-André Basilica (+/- 16 km)
  • Romanesque Saint-Mesmin Church (+/- 6 km)
  • Saint-Liphard collegiate church (-/+ 21 km)
  • Notre-Dame de Beaugency Abbey Church (+/-26 km)
  • Beaugency Saint-Étienne Romanesque Church (+/- 26 km)
  • Abbey Church of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire (+/- 35 km)
  • Carolingian oratory of Germigny-des-Près (+/- 30 km)

Tour Booking Information

Meeting Point

In front of the Hôtel Groslot,
place de l’Etape, 45000 Orléans.

Access: Tram line B, station Cathédrale.

Attention Points

  • Tour is on foot.
  • Weather: the tour will start on schedule rain or shine.
  • Prices do not include transportation, food, drinks, or any other extra services.
  • Tour duration & content are purely indicative, they may vary due to contingencies.
  • This is a neighborhood & cathedral tour:  We don’t enter any other monument.
  • We can’t guarantee access to the cathedral: exceptionally the cathedral can be closed or forbidden to tours (ceremony) without notice. In this case, the tour will be adapted to the Joan of Arc tour or the Orléans city tour content.

Book Your Orléans Cathedral Tour

Choose below your tour: You will then be  asked : -> choose the number of people, date & hours of visit -> after our validation-> pay on line.

Photo of Sainte-Croix Cathedral from the north west  to illustrate the Orléans Cathedral Tour.

Orléans Cathédral tour – The Orléans Cathedral Sainte-Croix. © Broaden horizons