Loiret, named after the river, is dominated by Orléans and its suburbs, where nearly half of the department’s 600,000 population live. It is a thriving, medium-sized city rebuilt after being heavily bombed in World War Two.
Orléans used to be considered too far from Paris, at 100km away, to be considered a commuter town. This is no longer the case, with TGV trains doing the journey into Montparnasse in little over half an hour. For those who do not trust the railways, the A10, the main Paris-Bordeaux autoroute, passes close by Orléans, and the junction with the A71 heading for Limoges is just south of the city.
Easy to access from Paris
The city has an active cultural and sporting life and the city continues to march to its own drum.
In recent years, there has been a lot of work to open up the banks of the Loire for walks and recreation.
Part of the Paris bread basket – the area of flat, fertile land that has supplied the capital with wheat and other cereals for centuries – lies to the north of the department. Orléans marks the start of more wooded country to the south, but the land is still flat.
House prices are relatively high, especially around Orléans, but away from the city they become more reasonable. An example is a four-bedroom house near Montargis, which seems to have last been modernised in the 1970s. It has a 1,000m² garden and is on the market for €108,000.
Similarly, a dilapidated farm and its barn are on sale separately near Artenay, in the north of the department, each with a €35,000 asking price. Or you could get your hands on a partially converted 60m² village house in Pierrefitte-ès-Bois, in the far south east, for €30,000, including building materials.