Festival de Loire

Festival de Loire

It is simply Europe's leading inland boating event !

Impassioned mariners and visitors flock from across France and Europe to celebrate, together,
Europe's last wild river and to honour the Loire's culture, its boating, its gastronomy and its traditions.
Entertainment, 'guinguette' open-air balls, shows, concerts, exhibitions, pyrotechnic shows, stands,
autograph sessions, etc. over a five-day festive programme for the pleasure of all, that brings back to
life, for a fleeting moment, what was once one of the grandest ports along the 'royal river'.

Festival de Loire
Loire Festival
Festival de Loire
Loire Festival
festival de Loire
Loire Festival
Loire Festival


The Loire Festival is back from the 18th to the 22nd of September 2019 and I’m definitely not missing it: for a few days, Orléans will, once more, become Paris’ leading trading port, an event that only happens once every two years! And for this year’s edition, the guests of honour are England and the River Thames
The Loire was once the leading trade route across France and Orléans was a busy trading port, and the closest to Paris. 
However, river transport declined and finally disappeared with the development of rail transport. Since the 2000s, the Loire Valley’s status as UNESCO World Heritage has contributed towards reviving it! Orléans’ attention is once more focusing on its beautiful river, and on making an old dream come true: to renovate the historic city centre and its port, and to breathe a new and energetic lease of life into the banks of the Loire!

So board now for the Loire Festival !


For this biennal festival is, first and foremost, the leading inland navigation gathering in Europe, welcoming over 200 boats from the Loire and elsewhere, more than 700 mariners & 500 artists. And it is also a five-day celebration of the Loire, its culture, its gentle way of life and a source of pleasure for its 650,000 visitors.
Whether you are a boat or boating enthusiast, a singer of sailors’ songs, a fan of street performances and concerts or simply a curious visitor, you’re sure to enjoy!


•    The boats, of course! Those from the Loire and those from elsewhere. England and the Thames are this year’s guests of honour. Scows, lighters, ‘toues’ - all those traditional flat-bottomed barges reproduced or restored by aficionados who are delighted to bring the area’s inland navigation back to life. 
Certain boats stay by the quayside, transformed into makeshift stages for a few harmonious sailors’ voices. Others offer demonstrations of old manoeuvres (haulage, multiple towing, etc) or take you on a river cruise, from dykes to sandbanks.
•    On the old docks that were once used to unload goods, shipwrights, rope makers, coopers and many other craftworkers offer demonstrations of their specific skills. Each and every edition of the festival is a new opportunity to discover these old trades associated with boats and sailing. 
•    Budding mariners can also make the most of the festivities over specially devised activities and workshops. Throughout the festival, they’ll also be fascinated by the acrobats, entertainers and fairground attractions.  
•    Much to eat and drink. A long time ago, this was where barrels of wine were unloaded and stored ready to be sold to Parisian buyers (for the quality wines) or to vinegar makers (for the 'tart' ones), and where cane sugar and spices were imported from the French colonies. 
Today, the festival is an excellent excuse for discovering and tasting both local specialities and those from invited regions, over the many festival stalls. Here and there, long open-air tables and shaded terraces invite you to take a gourmet break amidst the festivities. What greater pleasure - the mariners themselves are sure to agree -  than a glass of Orléans pinot gris meunier (with due moderation!) or chilled apple juice to the sound of the sailors’ songs? 
•    In the evening, the festival takes on an even livelier face with a varied programme of concerts in different venues throughout the town. What’s your preference? Soul, rock, or some traditional French songs? 
The boats, bridges and islets of the Loire are illuminated, and the weekend’s various shows and fireworks displays are always a highlight for they bring new surprises every year.


The event is also the perfect opportunity to discover Orléans, in particular its historic quarter between the cathedral and the Loire: Renaissance hotels, colourful half-timbered houses, pretty boutiques, etc. to fully appreciate Orléans, visit on foot, and make sure you raise your gaze! 
They’re all among the festival’s highlights, but you can come back to see them at other times of the year:
•    Quayside boat-restaurants: the washing boat and the Inex, a miniature replica of the Inexplosible steamboat.
•    Guinguettes and quayside entertainment throughout the summer.
•    Boat trips aboard traditional boats in Loiret.
•    Maison de Loire association in Jargeau.
•    Musée de la Marine de Loire (Loire Marine Museum) in Châteauneuf-sur-Loire.

For further information :

Orléans Loire Valley Tourist Office: 02 38 24 05 05