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Gien

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Loiret

Gien - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Loiret
7.4
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Majestically overlooking the Loire River, the Château de Gien, made of brick and stone, is home to the International Hunting museum. This museum groups together collections dedicated to hunting and to animal art: paintings, ceramics, tapestries, trophies and hunting buttons are displayed there.

Famous for its earthenware tradition, Gien also has an earthenware factory museum, located in a former cellar, with magnificent china collections on display. This place also hosts temporary exhibitions.

Additional information
Gien

Gien is a town in Loiret, in the Center-Val de Loire region.

Its vast territory of 67 km² belongs to the natural region of Puisaye, on the borders of Orléanais, Nivernais and Burgundy, presenting landscapes of forests, ponds and humid and green valleys.

The town has developed on the edge of the Loire which constitutes most of its boundary, to the south, the north and the east having remained very "rural": agricultural land (46%) and forests (35%) in fact cover a large part of Gien and Arrabloy (12 km²), its municipality associated with the east since 1972.

Although archaeological remains attest to an occupation from the Gallo-Roman era, it was in the 8th century that Charlemagne authorized the construction of a fortified motte which gave birth to the future city.

In the 13th century, the construction of a first bridge over the Loire followed, the construction of enclosures and around 1500, with the construction of its Renaissance-style castle, Gien fully entered history, becoming a city royal. François Ier, Catherine de Médicis, Charles IX or even Louis XIV and his court stayed there.

Nowadays, renowned for its heritage, its industry (earthenware) but also its offer of cultural and "nature" leisure activities, the city has about 15,000 inhabitants and is a stage of choice before discovering other major sites in the Loire Valley.

Things to see and do

Dominated by the Jardin des Boulards, where you can see the remains of the old medieval ramparts and the arcades of the 13th century Hôtel-Dieu, the historic heart of the city was severely affected by German bombardments in June 1940.

Its reconstruction began with the Occupation with the aim of making reference to the architectural traditions of the region while creating a new axis to access the bridge over the Loire, a large square replacing the alleys of yesteryear.

For its part, the château has been spared overall. It thus remains the emblematic monument of the city of Gien. Its construction began in 1494 and was completed in 1500 on behalf of the daughter of Louis XI, the regent Anne of France (also known as Anne de Beaujeu). The aim was to provide the city with a prestigious residence instead of the medieval fortress. The goal was achieved and today it represents an example of the Renaissance style even before France was "touched" by the influences of the Italian Renaissance.

With its decorations made using polychrome brickwork, the castle of Gien welcomed a number of sovereigns such as Henry II or even Louis XIV who settled there during the Fronde.

The site was bought in 1823 by the Department and from then on it housed the sub-prefecture, the court and a prison. Classified as a Historic Monument on the initial list of 1840, its vocation changed dramatically after the Second World War when a hunting museum was created there. The latter, labeled "Musée de France", has seen its collections grow over the decades and it thus presents through documents, equipment and works of art the history of hunting, the various weapons and techniques but also about hunting in the area. Moreover, visitors can also experience the beauty of the castle itself. Fun routes for families. Open all year round except Tuesdays, public holidays and all of January. Price: 5 to 8 euros (supplement for guided tours). Information on +33 2 38 67 69 69.

Next, head to the nearby Sainte-Jeanne d'Arc church, which was originally the castle church (then in a flamboyant Gothic style). In June 1940, the nave and the choir were destroyed, only the 15th century bell tower having been preserved. Rebuilt from 1950 to 1954, the building has decorative brick facings which are in harmony with the castle. Inside, you can see terracotta capitals, beautifully crafted stained-glass windows that filter the light to "play" with the color of the bricks, and decorative elements in glass slabs.

Castle and church are accessible by a staircase specially dedicated to visitors and tourists.

In addition to the Alix house (15th century), one of the rare residences in the city to have been spared from the bombardments and whose ground floor still has arcades, the other point of attraction in terms of the heritage is made up of the banks of the Loire: the bridges and the quays. Three bridges span the Loire in the city and allow, according to tradition, to "disembark" in Berry, on the opposite bank. These are the medieval bridge redesigned in 1734 then renovated in 1945, the bridge dating from 1980 and the railway viaduct.

Guided tours of the city and its heritage elements are offered throughout the year. Information on +33 2 38 67 25 28.

Another part of local history but which remains always active and dynamic: the earthenware industry which developed in Gien from 1821. Having very quickly been successful international thanks to its hand-painted decorations, it was highlighted in particular during the Universal Exhibition of 1889 for which monumental pieces were produced, such as the 3 m high Peacock Vase! Nowadays, part of the production tool has been modernized and the most contemporary decorations are next to the emblematic pieces of the old manufacture. An earthenware museum is housed in the old cellar of the factory where the paste was stored. We discover the manufacturing techniques and pieces representing the evolution of the decorations from 1821 to the present day. Open every day except Sunday. Information on +33 2 38 05 21 06.

Outside the city, the green and even forested territory of the territory and the banks of the Loire offer great potential for hikers. They can take the opportunity to appreciate the protected natural areas along the river or in the woods. Thanks to the routes developed along the Loire, Gien is on the Eurovélo 6 route (known as La Loire à Vélo), i.e. a total of 900 km of secure routes, but also on the Eurovélo 3 route (known as the Scandibérique) which potentially joins Spain via the banks of the Briare canal. On Gien and its region, it is the opportunity to cross the varied landscapes of the Puisaye with its ponds and woods, and those of the wild Loire.

Let's add marked paths on other sectors and the charms of the Jacques-Cœur tourist route and we understand that, by bike or on foot, there is no shortage of possibilities! Maps and information on +33 2 38 67 25 28.

Still in terms of leisure, the edges of the Loire can also delight fishermen (contact the local company on +33 2 38 36 76 15).

On the sport side, the nautical stadium with its outdoor pools in summer allows you to reconcile relaxation and the pleasure of swimming. Price: 3.05 and 3.65 euros. Information on +33 2 38 67 69 54. It is also easy to book a tennis court (join +33 6 45 81 77 89) or, in season, to navigate the Loire by canoe-kayak (inquire at +33 2 38 67 12 50). Finally, a mini-golf course is set up, still on the banks of the river. Contact on +33 2 38 67 23 74.

As far as cultural leisure activities are concerned, note to conclude the activities programmed throughout the year by the media library (meetings, conferences, exhibitions: information on +33 2 38 05 19 51) and shows and concerts hosted at the Cultural Center (inquire at +33 2 38 05 19 05).

Places of interest

Leisure centres
Monuments
Natural sites
Transport

Events and festivities

Gymnastics- UTL Jean CHIBOUT
The Loiret Volleyball Committee
Exhibition: "From Anne de Beaujeu's Castle to the Hunting Museum"
All on Stage
Water Games Festival 2022
The Guinguette With the Jean-François Carcagno Orchestra
Creative Workshop "Victim of Fashion"
Street Arts Festival

Photos

The castle
The castle
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Bridge on the Loire
Bridge on the Loire
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Quai de la Loire (© J.E)
Quai de la Loire (© J.E)
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The great bridge over the Loire (© J.E)
The great bridge over the Loire (© J.E)
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City Hall Fountain
City Hall Fountain
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The city
The city
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The city
The city
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The city
The city
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The city
The city
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The castle seen from the bridge (© J.E)
The castle seen from the bridge (© J.E)
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The city
The city
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The town hall
The town hall
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The city
The city
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The church
The church
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The church
The church
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The interior of the church
The interior of the church
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The interior of the church
The interior of the church
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

Restaurants

Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals

Campsites

Hotels

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