It is less than twelve kilometers long, the Loiret river to which the department is named. It sprouts in a rural suburb of Orléans, with the appropriate name La Source - the source. There is a beautiful walking path with a phenomenal view of the estates and romantic garden arches on the banks of the Loiret that supplies the important Loire with water.
Water is an essential source of life in this gently sloping land of honey, saffron, fruit, almond paste and vines. And the French would not be French if they did not turn their fruit into spirits. "La Poire d'Olivet" is an eau-de-vie that is appreciated throughout France. Water is also a source of relaxation and tourism. The Loiret offers a unique pleasure boat circuit of more than 100 km. Not only rivers, but also the four channels that flow through the department are easily navigable. The water lover will certainly enjoy Montargis, the Venice or Giethoorn of Gâtinais, the name of the former province of which the Loiret was part of the French Revolution. The streets, canals and 131 bridges guarantee a romantic walk.
The catchment areas in the Loiret also yield beautiful pieces of nature, with special plants and animals, green meadows and wonderful shore beaches. It is good walking and cycling in the Puiseaux Vernisson nature reserves, near Montargis; the Dolines de Limières, in the vicinity of Ardon, near the Sauldre Canal, and in the Ȋĺes de Bonny nature park, the island basin of the Loire and Cheuille.
If you let yourself be carried away by the many calm streams, you will automatically experience the rich past of this modest region in central France. Wherever the Loire flows, former kings and nobles of France have found inspiration for the creation of imposing castles. Robust, medieval fortresses can be admired in Sully-sur-Loire, Saint-Brisson-sur-Loire and Yèvre-le-Châtel. Later castles, which were meant to show off rather than as defenses, can be found in Ferté-Saint-Aubin and La Bussière, Gien and Meung-sur-Loire. The romantic castle of Chamerolles with its perfume museum is also worth a visit. Curious about the role of perfume is the personal care of the 16th century until today? That history is told here.
If we delve further into the history of the Loiret, we soon come across the name Jeanne d’Arc. Its nickname, the Virgin of Orléans, is derived from the departmental capital. With her liberation from besieged Orléans in 1429, Jeanne ushered in an important series of victories over the English. The weak, not grateful crown precedent Charles VII then does not stick out when the brave Jeanne ends up at the stake in the name of the Catholic Church. The history of the 'Royal Orleans' goes back to the 'primeval father' of the Franks, King Clovis (466-511), who, just like Jeanne d'Arc, became the symbol of the French state.