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Orleans, located in north central France, is the capital of the country’s Centre region. The city is on the northern bend of the Loire river and as such has always been a place of strategic importance. Today there are five bridges in Orleans that cross the Loire River, Pont de l’Europe, Pont du Marechal Joffre, Pont George-V, Pont Rene-Thinat and Pont de Vierzon.
The city was destroyed in 52BC by Julius Caesar and then rebuilt by the emperor Aurelian, who named it Aurelianum – city of Aurelian – which then eventually evolved into Orleans. As one of only three points at which to cross the Loire during the middle ages, the other two being Paris and Rouen, Orleans became one of medieval France’s richest cities. In 1429 Joan of Arc liberated the city from the Plantagenets. The city’s inhabitant remain grateful to her to this day, calling her ‘the maid of Orleans’.