French Quarter, New Orleans

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 Reviews

90 blocks

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  • Creole townhouses in the French Quarter
    Creole townhouses in the French Quarter
    by Jefie
  • French Quarter
    by Madasabull
  • French Quarter
    by Madasabull
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    Not what we expected.

    by Madasabull Updated Jan 23, 2014
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    The French Quarter, well, I should have researched it a little better. We were expecting lots of Jazz clubs (not that I like jazz), bands playing, lots to see and do, and beautiful buildings.

    What we found was that aside from the beautiful building, which were many, all we found was sleazy clubs and bars, with bouncers in the doorways stood with strippers trying to get you into their bars. We found dirty streets and a really grey feeling.

    This place was not for us, it is more suited to stag and hen nights, or gangs of men looking for cheap thrills. If this is you, then no doubt you will find it right up your street.

    For anyone not interested in those things, then a lovely walk down the main street adjacent too the French Quarter is lovely, with trams and wide open spaces, shops and bars and restaurants. And a stroll along the river front was lovely too.

    This city was cool, just didn't like the French Quarter, that's all.

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    Answer to Forum Question May 2012

    by riorich55 Written May 18, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Good suggestions thus far:

    Three other suggestions I will add are:

    1) Take the street car to the Garden District - Some very good restaurants in the area. Commander's Palace is one we have eaten at.

    2) Tour an above ground cemetery - There is one within easy walking distance from the French Quarter

    3) Take in a Performance of the Preservation Jazz Hall Band. They play in the French Quarter. It's been a number of years since we saw them and at that time we walked up and bought tickets. Not sure how they sell tickets now.

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    Answer to Forum Question May 2012

    by riorich55 Written May 18, 2012

    Good suggestions thus far:

    Three other suggestions I will add are:

    1) Take the street car to the Garden District - Some very good restaurants in the area. Commander's Palace is one we have eaten at.

    2) Tour an above ground cemetery - There is one within easy walking distance from the French Quarter

    3) Take in a Performance of the Preservation Jazz Hall Band. They play in the French Quarter. It's been a number of years since we saw them and at that time we walked up and bought tickets. Not sure how they sell tickets now.

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    Architecture in the French Quarter

    by Jefie Updated Aug 7, 2011

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    Creole townhouses in the French Quarter
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    What makes the architecture so interesting in the French Quarter is that it is both distinctive and reflective of the city's history and diversity. Perhaps the area's Creole townhouses are among the easiest to recognize thanks to their famous cast-iron balconies. These were built after the great fires of 1788 and 1795, when the city decreed that bricks should be used instead of wood when building houses more than one story high. As you walk along some of the side streets, you get to discover other types of architecture, such as the smaller Creole cottages and shotgun houses that are quite typical of New Orleans. These small houses are usually very colourful and always well-preserved thanks to the efforts put in by the Vieux Carre Commission, which is in charge of preserving the architecture in this historical district. Another residence that many people are curious to see is Madame John's Legacy, located at 632 Dumaine Street. Built in 1789, this plantation-style house is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city and it's now part of the Louisiana State Museum complex. Finally, it's definitely worth walking down to Esplanade Avenue, at the very end of the French Quarter. This broad street lined with trees was home to some of New Orleans's wealthiest citizens and it features some of the best examples of 19th century townhouses and villas. There are several guided tours offered that focus on the architecture of the French Quarter, but the way we chose to do it was simply by grabbing our camera and going out for a long, free walk!

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    French Quarter Festival: those who do not dance

    by kokoryko Written Jul 25, 2011

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    Dancers are not the majority, and most people are looking on; there are very “serious” listeners who like the music, having probably checked the programs and schedules; they come early and take the best places and bring along a folding seat.
    There are a number of shops where you can find these seats, and even mobile vendors.
    So, if you intend to listen music for some time at the same place, bring a seat, and this seat is apparently very light to be carried to the next place. . .
    As the sun can be aggressive, bring along a hat too! (picture 5)

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    French Quarter Festival: Dance

    by kokoryko Written Jul 25, 2011

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    When you walk in the streets of the Quarter during the festival, if you are in the mood, you can even dance! There is space on the street lots of onlookers, and if you are alone, there are lots of opportunities to find a dancing partner. Dancing in New Orleans can also be a tourist’s must do, no?
    Few pictures showing people enjoying the music.

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    French Quarter Festival: Music

    by kokoryko Written Jul 25, 2011

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    From April 9th to 11th 2010 I was lucky to be in New Orleans for the French Quarter Festival; this Festival, not as famous as Mardi Gras (Carnival) drains thousands of visitors from all USA and overseas, and the already “normal” festive atmosphere of the Quarter is just multiplied! Festival all day and night long!
    As New Orleans is the cradle of Jazz music, there is lots of music in the streets, for all tastes, of all styles; there are a number of sponsored stages with “established” bands, bads on “unofficial” stages or places in the streets and buskers; all music is free! Walk along, go from here to there, come back and enjoy; you can find the schedules on many flyers you find in the tourist office, hotels, etc. . . Live music is always better than recorded, and there is the atmosphere around, the people, the various bands, amateurs and well known bands.
    Just sharing a bit of what I have seen, I enjoyed it!

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    Le Petit Theatre

    by msbrandysue Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Theatre

    Le Petit Theatre has been in operation in the French Quarter since 1916. The current residence of the theatre was built in the late 1700s. If you're a history buff this place will intrigue you beyond your imagination! They put on performances year-round so make sure to check the website while planning your trip.

    Unfortunately I did not attend a performance on my first trip since I was exploring the jazz scenes but I would love to see one on my next visit.

    Tickets run around $20-30 based on the performance.

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    European Ambience

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Decatur St.
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    When we visited New Orleans in 1950, we had not yet been to Europe. My dad was fascinated by all the wrought iron balcony railings.

    In 1718, the French Quarter started out as French, but then in 1762 the indifferent Louis XV transferred Louisiana to his Bourbon cousin Charles III of Spain. Spanish rule lasted for four decades, so actually the French Quarter has been Spanish almost as long as it was French.

    The layout of the quarter is French (Vieux Carré translates to "old square."), but since the city was burned down in 1788, and much of it again in 1794, the Spanish gave us the famous architecture including the common-wall plastered brick houses, walled courtyards and graceful wrought iron balconies, hinges and locks in curvilinear shapes.

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    Joan of Arc Statue

    by TravellerMel Updated Mar 18, 2011
    Joan of Arc Statue,  French Quarter, New Orleans
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    Given to the City of New Orleans in 1972 by the people of France, this golden bronze statue of Joan of Arc is an exact copy of the famous 1880 Emmanuel Fremiet statue of Joan in Paris.

    The inscription on the pedestal of St. Joan's statue reads:

    JOAN OF ARC

    MAID OF ORLEANS

    1412 - 1431

    Gift of the People of France

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    historic buildings at French Quarter

    by mindcrime Written Dec 24, 2010

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    The Court of Two Sisters
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    It seems every building at French Quarter has a story to tell, you go to a restaurant and you are realize that the building is there from 19th century, many of them has some weird/funny stories on the walls, some of these stories may be true some just for the tourists to feel the New Orleans “haunted” vibe :)

    The overrated restaurant The Court of Two Sisters(pic 1) is housed on a building (613 Royal St.) that dates from 1832 and took its name from two sisters (born in 1858&1860), they lived there with their rich Creole family and had a curio store that outfitted city’s finest women with expensive perfumes and formal gowns from Paris. They died the same year(1944) and lie side by side at St.Louis Cemetery #3.

    At 417 Royal street (hm, I guess we spent hours on this street while others were having fun at Bourbon!) is Brennan’s restaurant(pic 2), it was built in 1855 by Rillieux and a sign inform us that the chess champion Paul Charles Murphy lived here.

    Everyone knows Pat O’Brien pub(718 St.Peter St. pic 3) because the people go there to drink as much hurricane drinks as they can. What some people skip is that it was built in 1790 and some popular plays were played here and some claim that the first grand opera in USA was perfomed inside here!

    A few steps away is Antoine’s restaurant. The building was built in 1829 and the Antoine family owns/runs this (expensive) restaurant for more than 150 years!!!

    At 716 Dauphine st. you can see Le Pretre Mansion. It was built In 1836 in greek revival style and the legends wants one of the first renters was a wealthy turk with many servants and women (supposedly stolen from a sultan). As expected many rich locals were visiting the house for some “wild nights” until loud shrieks came from inside and the day after the neighbors found the turk and the girls dead lying in a pool of blood! If you go on haunted tour they’ll tell you that some nights music and shrieks still come from the house, I didn’t hear anything no matter how hard I tried but it was early in the morning when we walked by… :)

    Back to Bourbon street at 941 we saw Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop(pic 4) that claim to be the oldest building in the area!!! It used to be headquarters of the pirates(Lafitte was the leader of them). In our days you can go there and enjoy a local beer, my photo was taken early in the morning when it was closed but it gets busy later in the day.

    Finally, at 632 Dumaine St. is Madame John’s Legacy(pic 5) another structure that supposed to be the oldest one in the area but it seems that most of it was burnt down during the fire in 1788 but the building stood there since 1728, can you imagine? New Orleans itself was founded in 1718! It is open for tours but we didn’t have the chance to go inside as we passed by before 9.00am

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    French Quarter

    by mindcrime Written Dec 24, 2010

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    No matter what the people say French Quarter is the epicenter of New Orleans, the beautiful historic center. This is good and bad at the same time of course :) It’s a rectangular area (le Vieux Carre in French, the old square) not really big so you can easily walk from one side to the other. Most of the tourists are on Bourbon street of course but don’t miss the area around it.

    During the day you can enjoy the architecture of the district, the colorful old buildings with the pastel colors, the detailed iron balconies, the tiny shops, you can check the museums of the area(Cabildo and Presbytere), the St.Louis Cathedral at Jackson square, go for a coffee at the famous café du Monde (or other more peaceful ones), Royal street is full of art shops and galleries, there are many restaurants around of course so don’t forget to taste the local food, you can go down and walk next to the Mississippi river, I think you can skip the overrated French Market, you can also catch the free ferry to other side of the river or take a cruise with a steam boat! For us it was ideal having French Quarter as a base but if you have a car you may have problem with parking, it’s rare and expensive here.

    It was early in the 18th century (1718) when the France established the French Quarter but became Spanish in 1762 and most of the architecture elements (iron balconies, walled courtyards) come from that period. 2 big fires destroyed the district completely in 1788 & 1794 so most of the old building we see today are after that time.

    …Then later in the night choose a jazz venue to end the day in New Orleans style. Bourbon street is nice to walk through just to see the crazy vibe on it with all the happy people going up and down the street from one club to the other.

    There are some walking tour at French quarter you may interested about but as we had plenty of days there and a lot of books with information we did it alone.

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    New Orleans - Where to Begin ?

    by yankeepeddler Written Nov 26, 2010

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    Decatur St, Markets and Hansom Cabs
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    Grab your camera, start walking and have at it. If you don't know where to go, stop in at the tourist info center at the intersection of Canal and Royal (?). Probably the most scenic city in America. The architecture is both unique and beautiful. I personally found Royal St and Decatur Streets to the the most scenic. The Natchez paddlewheeler offers a 2 hour cruise for $25 - great activity when you get tired of walking. You can catch a 30 min hansom cab ride on Decatur St for $15/pp that will take you around to the major highlights of the French Quarter. While on Decatur St, be sure to see the St. Louis Cathedral ( you can't miss it) and take a stroll through the French Quarter Market. There's always plenty of free entertainment and places to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or you favorite adult beverage : ) The St Charles Ave trolley is another must-do. Takes you right through the beautiful Garden District for a penny pinching $1.25 each way. Be sure to get off at the Washington St stop and see Lafayette Cemetary #1 (admission free). Only 1 block south of stop - be sure to walk around this beautiful neighboorhood before you go.

    Oops - did I forget Bourbon St? The epicenter of New Orleans? Nope - first place we went. To be honest, it was ok - certainly not the most scenic of streets. Lots of bars, clubs and restaurants as you would expect. Not my cup of tea any more - although 30 years ago I'd have probably camped out there. Regardless of how you feel about night life, no trip to Nawlins is complete with out having at least 1 drink on Bourbon St. We got a street view table at a pub and watched the crowds and street performers. Great fun.

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    French Quarter

    by apbeaches Written Apr 3, 2010

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    Enjoyed walking past all of the galleries, shops, and the smells from the wonderful restaurants. We saw William Faulkner's, Truman Capote's and Tennessee William's Homes, We stopped at Pat O'Brien's listened to the dueling piano players, sat in the garden sharing a Hurricane. It was so good I brought the mix home. Lines were intimidating at Preservation Hall. The donkey drawn carriages moved through the narrow streets. I was surprised at the uneven sidewalks, holes in the pavement...

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    Dirty Linen Night - 2nd Sat in August

    by TravellerMel Written Aug 22, 2009

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    Dirty Linen Night Sign
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    Dirty Linen Night is the "response" to White Linen Night, which is an art walk of the galleries on Julia Street wherein most folks wear their white linen clothing. Dirty Linen Night is the next Saturday (the second Saturday of August, from 6-9 p.m.) where the idea is to wear the same white linens you wore the week before. :-) The galleries on and around Royal Street stay open late and offer free food and drinks. There is music (both live and recorded) playing as you walk from one gallery to the other. Lots of fun - and FREE! Check out many styles and media of art, and maybe go home with an authentic piece of New Orleans!

    Participating galleries will have a sign noting "Dirty Linen Night" - some are very creative. At the least, they will have a laundry basket just outside their door!

    Also, look for participating shops on the 500 block of St. Peter and St. Ann Streets and the Dutch Alley Artist Co-Op at Dumaine and Decatur Streets.

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