OUTING TO ORLÉANS



So, in France, everybody gets the day off for Toussaint, All Saints' Day, which is, of course, awesome when you're nursing a Halloween hangover. It's a little bit frustrating though when you think about how hung up the country is on being laïc (one of those French words without a good English equivalent, basically means religion-free). But I digress. The suave prince charming I live with took advantage of this long weekend and booked us two absurdly cheap tickets to Orléans for the weekend.  Here's what we did there.

First off, we checked into the glorious little Hotel de l'Abeille (64, rue Alsace-Lorraine, 45000). Our room was adorable and smelled amazing, the staff was super helpful and friendly, and we ate our lovely 11 euro organic brekkie in the warm, welcoming lobby.
79 euros a night for all the charm you can fit in 12m sq. It was November 1st, the holiday, so everything was closed, which was okay because naps in hotels on gray November days rock! Except when we woke up (at 10 p.m.) everything was still closed and everything that had been open was closing. Fear not! Subway, provided us with sustenance, which we ate in one of Orléans many charmingly curated town squares across from the Benetton store (oh to make a living wage!) before heading to L'Hendrix Pub (278, rue de Bourgogne, 45000).
I got the bar's namesake cocktail, which was cutely enough, purple and hazy.  Complete with an embarrassing umbrella. Marilyn Manson and Kurt Cobain judged me from their respective concert posters, as did the leather jacket wearing regulars. The Irishman fit in better with his whiskey.  

Background boyfriend not included
Friday saw us at the Maison Jeanne d'Arc, which took all of 20 minutes and cost 2 euros.  Joanie's been  the town sweetheart since she liberated it from the English in 1429. There are statues of her everywhere - even in our hotel lobby, where the angelic face of the Maid of Orléans contrasted sharply with the otherwised bee-themed décor.

From there we went on to the Musée des Beaux Arts, which was pretty meh (okay, we're spoiled) but had this cool red room:
I think we took another nap after that (too much art makes someone a little cranky...) and then trekked down to Le Bigourneau, which is supposed to be divine, but was actually full.  After what felt like a million-mile hike along the Loire, we stumbled upon a restaurant called L'Etage (6, rue Jean Hupeau, 45000) and boy were we glad we did! For 19,80 I had a tarte aux legumes, succulent cuisse de canard (duck leg), and something called a croquant chocolat, which was basically a Ferrero Rocher that had morphed into a cake. Excellent service, slick decor, delish.
Saturday was shopping. The town seems to exist off of chocolate sales and shoe shops. Still full from the night before, we opted for the second.  Yours truly sucked it up and got some Practical, Sturdy little boots, and Prince Charming bought me a beanie from Celio.
Warm is the new black. Booties from Texto
Then we were over Orléans and went to see Skyfall. The Irishman, ever the good sport, obliging listened to me bitch and moan about the misogyny of the whole 007 franchise while he sucked down a truckload of mussels at Le Brin de Zinc (62, rue Sainte-Catherine, 45000). My chartreuse de sole was much less impressive, which may be why I kept prattling on, but really - does Bond really have to show more emotion over his Aston Martin getting shot up than the girl he just slept with?
Despite, the good food, by Sunday morning we were ready to split.  We went to see the cathedral, which was the biggest and most gorgeous shrine to good ole Joan we had seen yet. Then we were outta there!

We celebrated our return to Paris by buying pizza at 11 p.m. and going to an English poetry reading (Everybody go buy Aja Monet's book!)
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