Go to Market in the Lower French Quarter

Posted March 3, 2009 by Kate Hamman

La-neworleans-frmkt-def With its fascinating history, intriguing culture, and inspiring resilience, New Orleans is has a vibrance that's just too brilliant to miss. Take a jaunt into the lower French Quarter, where the traditions of this neighborhood—and those of the French Market in particular—have sustained throughout the city's best and most trying times. If you can count on one thing, it's that: Here, the jazz will always play.

French Market: This flea and food market has been selling trinkets and fresh produce for more than 200 years and visitors can still find quite the bargain by perusing the maze of antiques, homemade goods, local arts, fresh produce, and cheap souvenirs. Many things may look like extra clutter, but remember that one man's trash might be the long lost china cup that completes your treasured dining set. For those on a food or cultural mission, you will find a kaleidoscope of scents, including roasting coffee and fresh-baked pastry, while jazz music rat-tat-tats as you take in a quintessential New Orleans experience for free.

Café Rose Nicaud: Opened as a portable coffee stand by a freed slave woman, Rose Nicaud has served its rich pick-me-up cups to market- and church-goers since the early 1800s. Not much has changed since then, except now java junkies can claim to sit in one of New Orleans' oldest coffeehouses, which still sells one of the city's best brews. Enjoy a cup of joe and a hearty sandwich for under $12 before heading to the French Market.

Le Richelieu in the French Quarter: Located only a few blocks from the French Market, this affordable hotel built in 1845 captures the quieter side of New Orleans. The owner lives on-site, and welcomes visitors like houseguests—even Paul McCartney once stayed here for two months. Along with 86 traditionally decorated rooms—17 of which are suites—guests are treated to a swimming pool in a courtyard and a cozy terrace bar. Next to location, the biggest boon of all is the value. Rooms start at $95 per night (more in the high season) and parking is free.

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(Photo: New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau)

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