Sainte Croix Cathedral and Orléans!

I have visited this town couple times and it seems not written enough on it which won’t surprise me due to the beauties of my belle France, the material to writer is never ending. However, this is a key city in my belle France and beautifully located right on the Loire river.

Let me tell you a bit more on the Sainte Croix Cathedral which by itself is enough to come to visit Orléans. Of course, a bit on the city as well.


The city belongs to the Loire Valley sector located between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire, which was classified World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in the year 2000. It is in the department 45 of Loiret in the Centre-Val de Loire region.

Orléans has five bridges   to allow the crossing of the Loire river: these are the pont or Europe bridge, the Maréchal-Joffre bridge, the George V bridge, also commonly called by the locals “Royal bridge”, serving as a tramway passage, the bridge René-Thinat , and the Vierzon bridge, which is railway.

When France colonized America, it conquered a territory in the valley of the Mississippi river, baptized Colbert river, from the mouth to its source at the borders of Canada. It is baptized Louisiana and the capital is named New Orleans in honor of the regent of Louis XV, the Duke of Orleans. In 1790,during the French revolution; the province of Orleans was dismantled and the department of Loiret (no 45) was created, with Orleans as the capital. During the Franco-German War of 1870, the city still presented itself as a strategic stake geographically. On October 13, 1870, the city was occupied by the Prussians. The Loire army was formed under the orders of General d’Aurelle de Paladines and based in Beauce near the city. The Second World War hit the city hard. The destruction is numerous. During the Vichy Regime, the Nazis made the Aubrais train station a central station for their rail logistics. At the Liberation, in 1944, the British intensely bombed the city and the Aubrais train station. The damage is very important. Orleans was liberated on August 17, 1944, by General Patton’s American troops. In the years following its liberation, the town was one of the first to be rebuilt, work began at the start of 1945. This reconstruction was done in the same way, like rue Royale and its arcades.

Its main arteries of touristic note are the following.  The Place du Martroi, symbolic heart of the city, has in its center a monumental equestrian statue of Joan of Arc. This statue was broken during WWII then repaired by the sculptor Paul Belmondo, father of the famous actor; the bas-reliefs of the pedestal are by the sculptor Vital Dubray.


And the Rue Royale (18C) and its shopping arcades were largely reconstructed identically after the bombings of WWII and constitute a masterpiece of town planning. The monumental perspectives it offers (on the statue of Joan of Arc in Place du Martroi in particular) recall those of major European cities.  As well as the rue Jeanne d’Arc (18-19C) is a large artery facing the Sainte-Croix Cathedral and opening up a wonderful perspective on it. It is lined with opulent buildings, in stone for the most part, remarkably homogeneous although all different because of strict town planning rules, adopted from the start of the project which led to the destruction of the entire central part of the old town which was in place.


The tourist office of the metropole of Orléans on heritage gives more info here: Tourist office of metro Orléans on heritage

And the wonderful Cathédral Sainte Croix of Orléans

The Sainte-Croix Cathedral, place Sainte-Croix, is the cathedral of the diocese of Orleans; Gothic style with baroque ornamentation of which partly rebuilt in the 17C, it is dedicated to the Holy Cross (Sainte Croix) The cathedral is 140 meters long, it is made up of 5 naves. Total interior width of the nave: 40 meters. The two towers are 88 meters high. The central spiral rises to 114 meters. The five bells are located in the north tower.

The oldest text is the Life of Saint Euverte, written in the 9C. He made the future bishop of the 4C a sub-deacon from Rome who had come to Gaul to look for members of his siblings who had been abducted forty years earlier by Barbarians. While passing through Orleans, he attended the election of a new bishop in the cathedral, a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, miraculously came to designate Euverte to the episcopate. Some time later, he saved the city from total destruction by fire and initiated the construction of a new cathedral. During the works, he found a treasure and decided to bring it to Rome, to the Emperor Constantine from whom he, in return, received, both grants to build the cathedral, and a fragment of the True Cross to garnish the central altar. The dedication Mass of the new cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Cross, was the setting for a miraculous consecration by a divine hand emerging from a cloud. At the end of his life, Euverte had Saint Aignan elected to succeed him to the episcopate.


The second text, the Great Passion of Auxerre is both more recent, it dates only from the 11C, and is more ambitious: it traces the foundation of the Church of Orleans and its cathedral to apostolic times. It says that Saint Peter in person would have entrusted seventeen of the seventy-two disciples with the mission of evangelizing Gaul. Among them, the Saints Savinien, Potentien and Altin were in charge of Lyonnaise IV to which Orléans belonged, and from which came the former ecclesiastical province of Sens. In Orleans, Altin, instituted bishop of the city, would have dedicated a first cathedral to Saint Etienne. This last story was based on an anachronism: it laid on the Gaul of the 1C an administrative organization in 17 provinces, which was not put in place until the end of the 4Cor at the beginning of the 4C. This legend is part of the propaganda intended to recall the prerogatives of the metropolitan headquarters, Sens, over that of Orleans


Around 1277, the Romanesque cathedral would have experienced a collapse and what remained, would have threatened to collapse in turn the first stone of the new cathedral was not laid until nine years later, on September 11, 1287, under the episcopate of Gilles Pastai and the work begins with the bedside. The great organ comes from the Abbey of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, exchanged with that of the cathedral in 1822. After other episodes, the instrument was renovated one last time from 2004 and restored in operation in September 2007 The choir organ is also a Cavaillé-Coll. temporarily installed in 1837, replaced by a final organ in 1846.

In the 14C, the bedside table is completed by a new choir. work resumed in the second half of the 15C by crossing the transept and continued in the 16C with the construction of two spans of the nave. In 1512, the cross tower was decorated with a large golden ball surmounted by a cross, the very one evoked by François Rabelais. In 1601, the king and queen Marie de Medici laid the foundation stone of the new cathedral. The choir was finished in 1623. In 1627, the foundations were laid for the transept which would be completed in 1636. The north transept was completed in 1643, and the south transept in 1690. The mark of the Sun King appeared by introducing a part of classicism in the flamboyant Gothic style building. His portrait and motto Nec pluribus impar also appear, with the date of completion in 1679, in the center of the rose window located above the portal of the southern transept. The works were not resumed until 1817. King Charles X inaugurated the completion of the works on May 8, 1829, for the 400th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of the English, by Joan of Arc and her army: a monumental staircase took square in front of the cathedral, parallel to the opening of the new rue Jeanne d’Arc and the creation of the grand forecourt of the cathedral.


There is an indirect link between the current Cathedral of Sainte Croix and Joan of Arc. The national historic heroine came to follow evening Mass on May 2, 1429 during the siege of Orleans (it should be remembered that the cathedral as it stands today did not exist in 1429, with the exception of the chapels of the apse, which surround the choir at the back). It can be; also point out that the rue Jeanne d’Arc, opened in the 19C, arrives in front of the main facade .Each year, on the evening of May 7, during the Johannian Feasts, the ceremony of the handing over of the standard takes place on the forecourt (which evokes that of Joan of Arc). The city o Orleans is its guardian and transmits it to the Catholic religious authorities for the duration of the festivities. The facade of the cathedral then serves as a support for sound and light effects. In François Rabelais’ Pantagruel, the golden ball which surmounts the bell tower is mentioned as being one of the bronze pills which were used to explore the stomach of the giant Pantagruel in order to cure it !

orleans over loire to cathedral aug07

The parish of Orleans on the Cathedral in French! Catholic Parish of Orleans on the Ste Croix Cathedral

Dept 45 Loiret tourist office on the Cathedral Ste Croix

Tourist office of Orleans on the Cathedral Ste Croix

There you go another dandy in my movable feast of France. This one on the Loire river glorious royal river of France and a historical city of Orléans with wonderful architecture and great walks in city center. Enjoy the tour

And remember, happy travel , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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