Europe France Orléans Travel

Overnight in Orléans with the Spirit of Jeanne d’Arc

With the Chateaux de la Loire behind us and the sun at oblique angle, we soon reach Hotel Terminus in Orléans sans problemes.

The three starred minotel has a central location, a lift and friendly people. Our room is very comfortable and has a little balcony with views over the town. We decide to take a long shower and rest for a while. It has been a long day that started in La Rochelle and took us through the Loire region to the last overnight destination of our road trip.

The rest gives us a chance to reflect on the last few days. Since we have arrived in Nice, we have traversed many kilometres and only managed to get a dégustation of what France has to offer. We clearly needed more time everywhere but this is no time for regrets. As we are approaching our Tour de France, I am feeling a little sadness in my heart. La Belle France is a splendid country and the people are welcoming and full of chaleur. I am not ready to stop living it and commit it all to memory.

Mr G is dozing off beside me. He has done all the driving, with one map of all of France and my navigation and interpretation of French road signs. He stirs from sleep and reminds me that we should find a restaurant and have an early night.

We go for a little promenade in the streets of Orléans. This is the place where in 1429, Jeanne d’Arc, at the head of the French forces drove the British out of the city. The town holds celebrations to mark this event are held in May.

Orléans is also the capital of vinegar and the region is home to Tarte Tatin, an upside down caramelised apple tart. The dessert boasts its own museum at Hotel Tatin where it was created in the tiny town of Lamotte-Beuvron by the Tatin sisters.

We stop at a brasserie, Le Grand Café where we are scrutinised by a waiter, more interested in life outside the café. After requesting an espace non-fumeur (restaurants are non-smoking now),  he seats us inside and says it doesn’t make much difference. We order a kir cassis and toast to our last Tour de France dinner. May we return for an in-depth tour of a country that we embraced in our heart.

Another waiter takes our order. He’s much more friendly and makes pleasant conversation. We order escargots bourguignonne for an entrée. The snails are cooked in garlic butter and parsley which we mop with pieces of crusty baguette. For the main course, we have a faux filet or beef sirloin and a pavé de boeuf . The dishes are uncomplicated but come in generous servings, easily helped along with a bottle of Touraine Gamay 1992 – Cuvée des Gourmets.

The ambience in the brasserie is hurried and noisy. We have no intention to linger or order dessert. We soon retire to our room. Broadcasts on the television are warning drivers of major embouteillage as the following day marks the start of the French holidays when motorists take to the roads.

We decide it would be best to leave a little later than usual, and for once during our driving adventure, sleep in.

… continues tomorrow

Le Tour de France Gourmantic’ series is the story of a young couple from Australia who took to the French roads on a whirlwind Tour of France back when the internet wasn’t at everyone’s fingertips, phones were still attached to sockets, GPS was an unfamiliar acronym, digital cameras were a pipe dream and the Euro hadn’t replaced French Francs. With just one fold-out map of France and boundless enthusiasm, they took their Renault 19 and went on a cultural and culinary discovery.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.


  • I’m so enjoying your journey! I took a long road trip last spring and well remember the absolute bliss of a day to rest, sleep in, grab a quick bite to eat. It doesn’t have to be all castles and monuments and mad dashing to be special. I love the down times too. 🙂

    • Hi Krista and thank you for the reminder that the ‘down’ times are just as much fun and memorable as the sights. You’ve made my day! 🙂