Orleans (Or'leens or Or'le-anz; Fr. pron. Or-lay-ong'), a city of France, the capital now of the dep. of Loiret, and formerly of the old province of Orleannais, which comprised most of the present deps. of Loiret, Eure-et-Loir, and Loir-et-Cher, with portions of four others. It stands in a fertile plain on the right bank of the Loire, here crossed by a nine-arched bridge (1760), 364 yards long, and by rail is 75 miles SSW. of Paris. The walls and gates have given place since 1830 to handsome boulevards, but the town as a whole wears a lifeless appearance. There are the cathedral, destroyed by the Huguenots in 1567, and rebuilt from 1601 onwards; the Mairie (1530); and the 15th-century Musee (till 1853 the hotel-de-ville); besides the house of Agnes Sorel, Diane de Poitiers, and Joan of Arc, of whom there are three statues. The commerce is far more important than the industries (of which the chief is market-gardening). Pop. (1872) 48,976; (1901) 59,568. The Celtic Genabum, Orleans about 272 a.d. was renamed Civitas Aureliani, of which the present name is a corruption. It was besieged by Attila in 451, and twice plundered by the Northmen (855 and 865). In 1428-29 it was besieged by the English, but was delivered by Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans. It suffered much in the Huguenot wars, and was occupied by the Germans Oct. 11 to Nov. 9, 1870, and then became the headquarters of the Army of the Loire until its crushing defeat on Dec. 3-5.