Le Féstival de la Loire - in the fall of every odd numbered year
2017 4th of July party in Orléans
Orléans is a city in north-central France, about 130km (80 miles) southwest of Paris and is the capital of the Loiret department.
The city is on a strategic point on the Loire river. With its bridge, it was able to charge tolls to those traveling to and from Paris in the north - thus becoming a wealthy city in the Middle Ages.
Joan of Arc liberated Orléans and she is honored to this day as the Maid of Orléans.
In 1306, the University of Orléans was granted the rights and privileges of a university.
During World War II, the Nazis turned the railroad station in Orléans into a major logistical hub. It was heavily bombed during the liberation. In August 1944, the Americans including the 137th Infantry from the Kansas 35th Division liberated the people of Orléans from the Nazi occupation.
In 1973, Wichita and Orléans formally became sister cities.
The train sent in 1952 by the school children of Wichita. It is located in Pasteur Park in Orléans. Orléans celebrated the 65th Anniversary of the gift in the summer of 2017 (see photo above).
Three Wichitan soldiers, who served in the 137th Infantry of the Kansas 35th Division that liberated Orléans from Nazi occupation in August 1944.
The original Joan of Arc statue was presented in 1970 by the people of Orléans, but was replaced because of concerns about its condition. The current statue (above) was cast and rededicated and is located on Main Street in Downtown Wichita, near Century II.
France Committee Chair: Doug Miller
See "Committees" tab > "France Committee" for more details
Located in South Central Kansas, in the center of the continental USA, Wichita is a city of about 400,000 people. It was founded on the banks of the Arkansas River near the junction of the Little Arkansas and Big Arkansas Rivers. This junction was a favored camping area of the Wichita tribe.
Wichita first served as a trading post on the Santa Fe trail, which was used to drive cattle from ranches to the railway and markets. Later with oil and gas discoveries around Wichita, it became a hub for many energy companies.
Early last century, Wichita spawned innovators in the aviation industry, notably Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech, Bill Lear and Bill Stearman and over the years has been home to Boeing, Spirit, Bombardier-Learjet, Cessna and Beechcraft. New companies have arrived recently including Airbus and Figeac Aero.
Aircraft manufacturers are among many businesses in Wichita that are globally oriented. Wichita has a diverse community comprised of various ethnicities. Wichita is served by several universities, including Wichita State University, Friends University and Newman University, all of which have student exchange programs in collaboration with Wichita Area Sister Cities.
Wichita - Orleans Exchange Opportunities
Since 2003, there have been numerous student exchanges. WSU students study at the University of Orléans-La Source and students from Orléans come to study in Wichita.
Music & Dance Exchanges
Members of the Wichita Chamber Chorale performed as ambassadors of Wichita for the Joan of Arc Festival in Orléans, France in 1996.
Occasionally, university music and dance students from one city will visit the other to perform and take advantage of workshops and master classes.
In 2005, Chamber Music at the Barn offered scholarships to 4 music students at le Conservatoire d'Orléans to attend "CMB Rocks!" music camp. The following year, the city of Orléans hosted 4 Wichita music students at the Loiret Department music camp. Both sets of students spent 4 weeks in each other's cities.
Official Exchange Visits led by Mayors
The Mayor's office coordinates with Orléans' mayor to give tours and to explain city functions during offical visits.
From time to time, chefs from Wichita or Orléans will visit the sister city to learn about the local cuisine.
2016 WASC Scholarship Recipients
Practical Information for visitors from Orléans
Some useful links for your visit:
City Hall: www.wichita.gov
Wichita Eisenhower Airport: http://www.flywichita.com/
Kansas Driver’s License: https://www.ksrevenue.org/dovdrlic.html
Note: A KS driver’s license is needed to drive here, even if you have an international driver’s license, after the first three months of residence in Kansas.
Wichita Public Schools: http://www.usd259.com/
Wichita State University French Department: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sporting Activities for Children: http://www.ymcawichita.org/
Music Classes: http://www.musictogetherofwichita.com/classes.htm
Art & Culture: http://www.wcfta.com/
Transportation: There is almost no public transportation; distances between homes and facilities make walking or bike rides impractical; taxis, Uber, & Lyft are available. Information about cars for sale is available online on Craig’s List, Kelly Blue Book, or CarMax.
Shopping: Wichita is served by several major chains, such as Walmart, Sam's Club, Kohls, Best Buy and local retailers, such as Dillons that offer inexpensive items such as kitchen utensils, clothes, sports equipment, hardware, linens, auto repairs and other necessities.
Emergencies: For ambulance, police or fire department and other services, dial 911 anywhere in the United States.
Food Safety: For those, who are concerned about GMOs, hormones and other chemical contamination of food, Wichita is served by several retail outlets, such as Yoder Meats, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, & Green Acres, which specialize also in providing gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan and vegetarian, and organic food products, that are often locally grown. Wichita also has a Kansas Grown Farmer's market every week held in various locations: https://kansasgrowninc.com/market-locations/
Once you are settled:
Check GoWichita for hotels, visitors’ information, restaurants, events, festivals, museums, sports events, theater and other local attractions.
The Wichita Eagle, a local newspaper, is a good source for information about local events and weekend outings.
Wichita has a lively Arts Community, including Wichita Grand Opera, Wichita Symphony, Ballet Wichita, and Wichita Art Museum, City Arts and Wichita Center for the Arts. Each month on First Friday, performing arts are showcased and on Final Friday, the graphic arts are emphasized.
Wichita State University, Friends University and Newman University provide low-cost or free music, theatrical, opera, and ballet performances as well as art exhibits. Wichita State University's campus is home to one of the most impressive outdoor sculpture collections in the country and has its own art museum called The Ulrich Museum of Art.
On day drives from Wichita, you can visit a Swedish Community in Lindsborgh, the Eisenhower Presidential Library and boyhood home in Abilene, the Cosmosphere space museum and salt mines of Hutchinson, wetland haven for migratory birds in Cheyene Bottoms near Great Bend, the annual Walnut Valley Blues Festival in Winfield, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City, Boot Hill Museum and Western Activities of Dodge City.
Major cities, such as Kansas City MO, Oklahoma City OK, Dallas TX, St. Louis MO, Lincoln NE, Omaha NE and Denver CO are within a day's drive. Week or longer driving trips can be taken to Mt Rushmore SD, Cody WY, Yellowstone WY/MO, Grand Canyon AZ, Carlsbad Caverns NM, Sand Dune National Park CO, Arches National Park and many other internationally famous national parks, monuments, reserves and attractions.
Local attractions for families include the Sedgwick County Zoo, Botanica, Cowtown, Exploration Place, Tanganyika Park, Mid-America All Indian Center, Wichita Aviation Museum and Karg Glass Art in Kechi.
There are facilities for most sports in Wichita, including bowling, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, rugby, indoor rock climbing, ice skating, roller skating and ice hockey. There are several dance academies, including Middle Eastern and Belly Dancing. Wichita is home to state-of-the art YMCA's and it even hosted the YMCA Gymnastics National Competition in 2015.
Providing night life to the city are restaurants, cafés, cinemas, theatres, dinner-theatre, concerts and many venues with live music.
There are places of worship for most religions and denominations—Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Islamic.
Entre Nous - Movie: Marguerite, June 2017
The book "Wichita-Orléans: Past, Present, Future" - edited and compiled by Dr. Brigitte Roussell, this publication documents the history of the Wichita - Orléans relationship. Written in English and French, it would make a great addition to your bookshelf.
Click the image to see the PDF.
Printed copies will be available for sale online soon.
Jardin français - proposed for Botanica
WSU Faculty and Sister Cities Delegates meet with scholarship recipients in Orléans, France
Bastille Day Celebration - July 14, 2019
News of Orléans