The national forest of Orléans
Take a walk in the majestic forest of Orléans, the largest national forest in France! An area covered with trees and lakes, it is a top site for green tourism and is home to a large number of animal species, which you can observe as you wander through it or from the top of an observation point.
The Forest of Orléans: the biggest national forest in France
The national forest of Orléans stretches out over 50,000 hectares, and is home to a large number of thriving deciduous and evergreen trees.
Although common oaks make up most of the forest, you will also see scots pine, Corsican pine and other giant sequoia trees. Moreover, it is not uncommon to come across 100 or 300 year-old trees such as the one growing at the Domaines crossroad, which could one day reach the age of 2000 years!
On foot or by bike, explore the paths cross-crossing through the forest. If you are quiet enough you will spot some of the animals living here such as stags, does and roes as they travel around in herds. To really appreciate the presence of the stags, however, it is best to come at the beginning of autumn, which is the bellowing (and mating!) season.
From forest to wetland areas
But deer are not the only inhabitants of the forest of Orléans.
The numerous lakes and ponds are also home to a number of other animal species. Here, you can observe salamanders and newts and listen to the gentle croak of toads and common frogs.
Around wetland areas you will see unique plants such as the Drosera, a carniverous plant, or Eriphorum plants, also called cotton grass.
If you look overhead, with a bit of luck you will spot the three key rare predatory species of the site: booted eagles, short-toed eagles and osprey.
To get a panoramic view of the forest, head to the Belvédère des Caillettes!
Follow a guide!
The Office National des Forêts (French National Forest Office) and the Loiret Nature Environnement association propose a number of guided outings in the forest of Orléans, focussing on different themes including ospreys, stag's bellow, ornithology and mycology.
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