Cathédrale Sainte-Croix d’Orléans
1278 to 1329 and 1601-1829 (after partial destruction in 1568).
The city of Cenabum was first founded by the Carnutes, a Celtic tribe. In 53 BC the Carnutes rebelled against the Romans. The rebellion was crushed by Julius Caesar who burned the city to the ground.
Emporor Aurelian rebuilt the city and named it Aureliana Civitas, or city of Aurelian. The name evolved into Orléans.
The first church was built on the current site on 330 AD.
During the Hundred Years’ War, the English lay the city under siege. On May 2nd, 1429 Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) attended mass in the Chapelles de l’Abside. The building as it stands today did not exist back then. The Chapel is part of the current structure. On May 8th, she broke the siege of Orleans, and liberated the city from the English.
The cathedral was burnt again during the Huguenot revolt in the 16th century. On July 2nd, 1598, Henry IV after having signed the Edict of Nantes earlier that year, and putting an end to the Wars of Religion, promised to rebuild the cathedral. He lay down the first stone on April 18, 1602.
Reconstruction of various sections continued until on 8 mai 1829, Charles X inaugurated the Cathedaral to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the break of the siege by Jeanne d’Arc.
Every year on the eve of May 8th, the Cathedral is lit up during the Fêtes Johanniques (Joan of Arc festival).
Orléans is located about 130 kilometers southwest of Paris. It is accessible by train from the Paris Gare d’Austerliz station.