French Quarter, New Orleans Travel Guide
French Quarter Summary
- Stunning architecture that is entertainment in and of itself (and it's free!)
- Hub for shops, restaurants, and hotels
- Thriving nightlife and music scene
- Walkable and easy to get around
- Heavily patrolled and protected 24/7 by New Orleans Police Department
- Party-hearty Bourbon Street
- Lots of museums, including the Beauregard-Keyes House, The Cabildo, Jean Lafitte National Historic Park, and Musee Conti Wax Museum
- Beignets at the famous Cafe du Monde
- French Market, the oldest public market in the country
- Extremely touristy -- many claim it's not the genuine New Orleans experience
- Safety may be an issue; stay in tourist areas after nightfall
What It's Like
The French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré, is an historic neighborhood that stretches 12 blocks to the Mississippi River. Originally settled by the Spanish, and then the French, the Quarter features a variety of architecture, including colorful Creole cottages, gorgeous antebellum mansions, intricate ironwork and some buildings that date to the late 1700s.
Today, the Quarter is a mix of private homes, museums, commercial shops, restaurants and hotels, as well as wide open public spaces. Property values in the Quarter have gone up since the 1984 World Fair, driving more tourist-related development, but also creating a residential demand among elites and celebrities.
The French Quarter is fairly safe and quiet during the day; at night, you'll be fine in tourist areas. Local cops are experts at crowd control, and it's rare for a visitor to get into trouble. Taxis are easy to find, except during Mardi Gras and Halloween. Keep in mind that the heavily touristed parts of Bourbon Street are closed to vehicles (except for delivery trucks, taxis and airport shuttles) every night after 6 p.m.
Where To Stay
Most hotels are bunched in the southwest section of the Quarter. High-end hotels can be found along Canal Street. Some cheaper options lie farther north within the Quarter, but several of these budget hotels come with poor reputations.