The French market is a large open market full of souvenirs and fresh produce down by the river in the French quarter. the stalls here have about as cheap goods and you will find anywhere else in town and there are numerous restaurants nearby.
Of course just about every shop in New Orleans has the usual tourist gifts. Some of them, especially the T-Shirt shops are fantastic.
In Decatur Street we did some gift shopping. Bought a pipe for a friend from the Happy Hookah shop, got some funny T-Shirts in the t-shirt shop (best one said "I got Bourbon Faced on Sh*t Street") and a nice ornament for me of a guy leaning against a lamp, playing the Sax on Bourbon Street. Plus I also bought a mask the Halloween party VT meet in Orlando.
In fact New Orleans is a great place to buy masks and colourful beads. Beads are a Mardi Gras custom in New Orleans.
Anyway, I found the French Markets that run parallel to the river the best place for a wander. We walked through the French Markets all the way back from town to near our accommodation in Frenchmen Street. A nice way to pass a slow lazy hour :o)
The French Market also has sidewalk food that you can buy and sit and eat in the shade. Nice and cheap and a great way to enjoy people watching.
There's a guy at this market selling sheets, branded "Sanders Collection" that are marked on the front of the package, in great big letters "1500 THREAD COUNT 100% EGYPTIAN COTTON". If you read the smaller print on the back, you'll find out that they are actually made from "micro fiber yarns... with the soft touch as a 1500 THREAD COUNT 100% Egyptian Cotton". If you research these sheets online, you'll find that they are banned in Europe. Multiple people have reported getting sick from these sheets. DO NOT BUY THEM! CALL OUT THE GUY AS SELLING DANGEROUS GOODS!
What to buy There's a guy at this market selling sheets, branded "Sanders Collection" that are marked on the front of the package, in great big letters "1500 THREAD COUNT 100% EGYPTIAN COTTON". If you read the smaller print on the back, you'll find out that they are actually made from "micro fiber yarns... with the soft touch as a 1500 THREAD COUNT 100% Egyptian Cotton". If you research these sheets online, you'll find that they are banned in Europe. Multiple people have reported getting sick from these sheets. DO NOT BUY THEM! CALL OUT THE GUY AS SELLING DANGEROUS GOODS!
What to pay Don't spend a dime.
If you like city market places this one will not disappoint. It's busy and there are tons of vendors selling some fairly interesting junk. It's worth walking around even if you are not really looking to buy anything.
What to buy They had great colorful masks, surely a big number when the city's Mardi Gras is in swing.
1. Designer-inspired purses, wallets, sunglasses.
2. Framed and/or matted New Orleans prints
3. "I've been to New Orleans" t-shirts and the like
5. Jazz CDs and cassettes
6. Feather Boas
7. Mardi Gras beads
8. Hot sauce
10. African and African-inspired home decor
11. Oil and acrylic paintings
12. Bourbon Street street signs
13. Artists to draw a caricature of you and your friends
14. Other things "New Orleans" to hang on your wall.
As of April 29, 2008 the Farmer's Market is under renovation but once it opens you'll find locally grown produce, prepared meats, sauces, etc.
What to pay Merchandise at the French Market tends to be fairly priced and the bottom line is you'll pay the money as long as you think there's value to you.
This is a large, open-air marketplace similar to flea markets and other public markets in other cities. It's a social as well as a business center. This market is lined with stalls hawking all kinds of goods--groceries, clothes, souvenirs, books, and you-name-it.
What to buy I purchased several hot sauces. One can buy all kinds of things here. It's a very safe, friendly place to shop. Even if you have no intention of buying anything, it's worthwhile to browse or just see the place. This is one of New Orleans' landmarks. You may recognize it from the Clint Eastwood movie "Tightrope."
What to pay Things tend to cost about what they do elsewhere.
The French Market is a tented bazaar just a block off the River Line Trolley stop. All sorts of things can be found here from "Cajun Garlic" to kitschy art... and many jewelry stands and printed t-shirt offerings. Throughout the city, there are many tourist-trap gift shops selling all manner of trinkets. The French Market is no different, except that most items are much less expensive than those from the shops, say, on Canal Street. Why? There is no air conditioning bill to pay since everyone is under a tent.
What to buy Consider purchasing any of those little gifts for the folks back at the home or the office.
What to pay Less than most other places.
When we had our orientation lecture, they told us that the French Market would be open every day, but the weekends - particularly Saturday - would be better.
I often go to the Big Pine Flea Market in the Florida Keys. They have everything from seconds on clothing to binoculars, antiques and jewelry to tomatoes. And I like to browse among the stands - it is interesting even if I don't buy anything. So I thought the French Market would be something like that. I was disappointed.
Even though the website says:
Vendors from all over the world bring their merchandise to this open-air shoppers' paradise in the French Market's Community Flea Market. Handmade clothing as well as fine silver and jewelry can be found in this eclectic setting open 7 days a week
I felt that what was for sale was all samey schlock - nothing of interest even if someone were to give it to me. All new stuff.
The Farmer's Market section was much more interesting where they have various kinds of food Unfortunately, this section of the market seems to get smaller each year.
We did buy some pralines here from the Evans stand which were excellent. But Bob prefers to use a regular market with more reasonable prices when he actually shops for food.
What to buy Some of the shops include
1021 N. Peters
African Art offers a divine atmosphere and feeling of being in Africa! Specializing in African artifacts, wonderful wood carvings, exotic oils, incense and more.
For over 16 years Art Attacks has featured posters, limited edition prints and one-of-a-kind items by local artists.
Authentic, primitive handcrafts from all over Latin America. Hammocks, Panama hats, leather handbags, cotton cloth and ceramic wall hangings.
Parker Pottery and Craft Gallery
1023 N. Peters
See the original pottery workings of New Orleans artist Robert Parker. The gallery also includes jewelry, wind chimes, magnets, painting and prints. All handcrafted by local artists.
French Market Gift Shop
(504) 522-6004 or (800) 433-6004
Postcards, figurines, charms, framed prints, candles, keychains, coffee mugs and other New Orleans souvenirs.
You can also get spices, seafood and cookbooks in the Farmer's Market section.
What to pay I understand that you can bargain here, but I didn't try it.
COOYON's is a true Cajun Products and Food Store. They offer fresh, packaged and hot ready to eat Cajun Products. The Etouffee is second to none and must be tasted to be appreciated. Their Jambalaya is uniquely Cajun Brown or Blond. Their Gumbo is all about flavor and taste.
The Crawfish or Shrimp and Corn Bisque is served either in walk around containers or in a custom made French Bread Bowl.
Their Burgers and Poboys are filling and very tasty and can be Alligator, Duck, Chicken, Crawfish, Jalapeno, Cajun or Hot Sausage, plus more..
The Cajun Products are from New Iberia Louisiana and are also Certified Cajun and Louisiana products.
A must for all to at least taste the great food.
What to buy The food and the products there.
What to pay Less than $10 for a meal that sometimes is enough for two
The Old French Market is really old, actually the oldest public Market that still exists in USA as it stands there since 1791. I can imagine how important it should be in the old days as a grand trading spot.
In our days it is just a tourist trap, full of junk souvenirs for the tourists and not local flavor at all unless you like to see other tourists buying $5 tshirts, fake sunglasses, beads and purses
There are some cafes, and some stores with Cajun spices, crafts, candies, jewelery, cook books etc
The fleur de lis represents the French influence in New Orleans history. You'll find this symbol imprinted or rendered on many items throughout Forever New Orleans: Christmas ornaments (pic #3), napkins and notecards, mugs, tshirts, jewelry and even pillows.
Colorful women's purses, silky blouses and clever home decor accessories seem well chosen and attractive. Specialty coffees and other foods can be taken home to capture the flavor of this city, too!
I really wanted to revisit this shop before departing New Orleans (pic #2), but time would not permit. However, if you make it one of your first shopping stops, I don't think you will regret it.
Bric-à-brac refers to items of low value, which are typically sold in a street market style setting. This is the ultimate definition of what is available in the French Market outdoor shops in New Orleans. Mardi Gras masks and beads, t-shirts galore, knick knacks, trinkets, and other things are available. There are also some local artists' work, which appear to be much more valuable than the Bric-à-brac label I gave to the entire shop.
Your best bet is to just walk around for an hour or so and figure out if there is anything you can not live without.
What to buy Bric-à-brac
What to pay $3 to $500