GEORG BRAUN & FRANS HOGENBERG, Aurelia Francia (Orleans), 1572 or later.
GEORG BRAUN & FRANS HOGENBERG
Aurelia Franciae Civitas Ad Ligeri Flu. Sita
Cologne: Frans Hogenberg, 1572 or later
Copperplate engraving with original hand-color
Paper size: 15 3/4" x 20 1/2"
Nice example of this iconic plan of 16th century Orleans on the Loire River, which appeared in Braun & Hogenberg's 6 volume Civititas Orbis Terrarum.
The verso translates as follows:
The Loire, an exceedingly well-known river in France, flows directly past the city and is very beneficial for trade. The fields surrounding the city are very fertile, and for this reason the city is also called the granary throughout France, just as in earlier times Sicily was the granary of Rome. A famous wine also grows in this soil, which is exported from here not only throughout France but to all the countries in Europe. [...] The French spoken here is pure and uncorrupted, which is also the reason why so many foreigners settle here. For some are here for trade, others for study and others again to acquire the language, but also many without doubt for both these last two reasons, [...] and Germans in particular send their children here."
Orléans is shown here in an extraordinarily precise bird's-eye perspective that incorporates elevations of the city's many churches and monasteries, including the cathedral of Sainte-Croix, destroyed by the Huguenots a few years earlier.