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27 June

French Quarter Guide

Welcome to the heart of New Orleans, the French Quarter is the grab of your hands for exploration into the charming and delightful Cajun and Creole culture. Nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River, the French Quarter boasts a vibrant tapestry of history, culture, and culinary delights. Crescent City Tours offers New Orleans city tours designed to ensure visitors have a truly memorable exploration of the French Quarter and beyond, along with our French Quarter guide which ensures your adventure in the heart of New Orleans city to be fun and safe.

Getting to know the French Quarter

The French Quarter in New Orleans is known as a vibrant and captivating destination for locals and tourists alike. From the lively jazz clubs and bustling street performers to the aromatic flavors awaiting for visitors to come and enjoy. At the French Quarter, visitors will find endless adventures to embark on. As a stop on our New Orleans city tours, the French Quarter can be exciting, but also raises concerns for visitors on how to tour this destination safely. Our French Quarter guide serves as the knowledgeable companion to help visitors explore through the heart and soul of New Orleans with information and recommendations for must-see places.

How to get to the French Quarter

The French Quarter is a wonderful stop on our New Orleans city tours. Arriving in the French Quarter by bus is one option for visitors. The bus trip from the Louis Armstrong Airport to the French Quarter is a leisurely 45-minute ride, offering ample time to soak in the sights along the way at a budget-friendly fare of just $1.25. Alternatively, travelers landing at the airport can also book a taxi, which costs about $36, ensuring a swift 15-20 minute journey directly to the heart of the French Quarter. Streetcar aficionados have two convenient options: hop aboard the iconic St. Charles streetcar line, traversing from Canal to Uptown and back again, or embark from Mid City on the Canal-City Park line, linking the vibrant neighborhoods with ease.

Things to do in the French Quarter

Jackson Square

Jackson Square stands as a testament to the rich history and vibrant culture of New Orleans, beckoning visitors to immerse themselves in its storied past and dynamic present. As one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, this National Historic Landmark holds a special place in the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Originally known as Place d’Armes during the French colonial era, Jackson Square underwent a transformation in 1814, mirroring the elegance of Place des Vosges in Paris. Today, its 2.5-acre expanse serves as a gathering place for over 2 million visitors annually, hosting a myriad of city events, weddings, and celebrations. The square’s centerpiece, a bronze statue of General Andrew Jackson, commemorates his pivotal role in the Battle of New Orleans. Yet, Jackson Square is not merely a relic of the past; it pulsates with life as an open-air artist colony, where talented artisans showcase their creations and offer visitors the chance to witness their craft firsthand. With its picturesque surroundings, historical significance, and vibrant atmosphere, Jackson Square stands as a must-visit destination, inviting all who wander its cobblestone paths to become part of its timeless narrative.

Saint Louis Cathedral

Another must-visit on our New Orleans city tours that is just steps away from Jackson Square is the St. Louis Cathedral, which dates back to 1772. The structure is distinctly picturesque, with its symmetrical façade, stained-glass windows, and Rococo-style altar. St. Louis Cathedral is among the tallest and most imposing structures in the French Quarter. St. Louis Cathedral has been featured in hundreds of movies, TV shows as it is a local and international architectural icon. As the mother church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States. Originally built in 1727 dedicated to King Louis IX of France, “The Crusading King” who was later canonized by the Church. Although the original St. Louis Cathedral burned during the great fire of 1794, it was rebuilt and the present structure was completed in the 1850s. In September of 1987, the Cathedral witnessed the historic visit of Pope John Paul II and the plaza directly in front of the church was renamed in the pope’s honor. Shortly after the visit of Pope John Paul II, the status of the Cathedral was upgraded to a Basilica. The Cathedral requires an admission fee of $8 for general visitors, $7 for seniors, and $6 for students and military.

Visit the French Market

Located within the historic French Quarter, the French Market stands as a vibrant symbol of New Orleans’ cultural tapestry, offering a sensory feast of shopping, dining, and local tradition reminiscent of European markets. Spanning five blocks from Cafe du Monde near Jackson Square to the flea market at Esplanade Avenue’s end, the market showcases an array of local produce, artisan crafts, and retail treasures. The Farmers Market Pavilion as a highlight of the French Market is a haven for food enthusiasts boasting full-service eateries serving up delectable breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, alongside tempting drinks, sweets, and snacks. On Wednesdays and Sundays, visitors will have the chance to see the Pavilion transformed into a bustling hub of fresh food markets, featuring the region’s finest vendors offering everything from seasonal vegetables to homegrown spices. Not to be missed is the annual Creole Tomato Festival, celebrating the spring harvest with a tantalizing array of tomato-based dishes unique to the New Orleans area, providing visitors with an authentic taste of the city’s culinary heritage.

Café du Monde

Located in the heart of the French Quarter on Decatur Street is an iconic symbol of New Orleans charm and culinary excellence, welcome to Café du Monde. Renowned as a must-visit stop for any visitor on the New Orleans city tour, this open-air coffee shop exudes an irresistible allure, drawing in locals and tourists alike with the promise of freshly brewed café au lait and piping hot beignets. Indulge in the simplicity of their menu, featuring dark-roasted coffee with chicory, served either black or au lait, alongside their famous beignets dusted liberally with powdered sugar. Whether savoring a leisurely morning coffee or satisfying a sweet tooth craving, a visit to Café du Monde promises an unforgettable taste of New Orleans tradition. Please keep in mind that Café du Monde has a cash-only policy, remember to bring at least $15-20 of cash upon your visitation at this cherished landmark.

Explore the music scene on Frenchmen Street

Despite not being located within the French Quarter proper, Frenchmen Street made it to countless guides for New Orleans city tours. Frenchmen Street stands as a pulsating artery of New Orleans’ musical heritage, beckoning visitors with its eclectic blend of jazz, blues, and funk. Frenchmen Street offers a plethora of venues where you can experience the best of New Orleans’ legendary music scene as well as giving visitors a couple of hours to be away from the crowds in the French Quarter. Start your jazz-filled adventure at iconic spots like The Spotted Cat Music Club, known for its lively atmosphere and talented musicians. For an authentic taste of traditional jazz, head to Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, where you can savor exquisite performances in an intimate setting. Explore the vibrant street further to discover gems like d.b.a. That sparks speakeasy vibes, where you can groove to a mix of jazz, blues, and funk late into the night. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch a live jazz performance at The Maison, where renowned artists grace the stage regularly, ensuring a special musical experience on Frenchmen Street.

Food and drinks in the French Quarter

Napoleon House

Welcome to Napoleon House where refreshing Pimm’s Cup cocktails, muffalettas, po’boys, and other Creole delicacies are served in a circa-1914 house with a palm-filled courtyard. Located just a 10-minute walk from the Aquarium or two blocks away from the Jackson Square, Napoleon House is an ideal spot for lunch and even dinner if you will. The courtyard filled with palm trees makes the place feel like a tropical haven without enduring the unbearable heat of New Orleans in summertime. Not only does the restaurant serve tasty food, people flock to this spot for its great cocktails and fun merchandise to bring home. Napoleon House also has a second floor that will give visitors a travel back in time; although please keep in mind the second floor has no handicapped accessibility. Asides from its beautiful courtyard, the restaurant offers a private dining room to accommodate intimate gatherings or special events, ensuring a personalized experience for guests.  This restaurant doesn’t only serve unforgettably delicious foods and refreshing cocktails, the place itself holds an intriguing story. Built in 1797, the building originally served as the residence of the then-mayor of New Orleans, Nicholas Girod. In 1821, it became the house that provided refuge to Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile, hence the name of the restaurant today.

Antoine’s

Immerse yourself in the epitome of historic charm fused with exquisite dining at Antoine’s when exploring the French Quarter. Founded in the 1840s, Antoine’s is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans and the birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller. Located just a short walk from Jackson Square and Bourbon Street, the restaurant is a pleasing sight to the eyes as it is decorated with the influence of French Rococo style. When we say this is a fine-dine restaurant, we mean it! The place requires guests to come in with a business casual dress code. If you and your group love to dress up in suits and cocktail dresses for a fancy dinner, Antoine’s is the place to be at. Be sure to keep in mind that it is Antoine’s Restaurant’s policy to provide only one guest check per table or per party, so no separate or individually itemized check. They are happy to accept up to 5 forms of payment for any individual guest check. And just to slip it in there, Antoine’s Hermes Bar has its happy hour at 4-6pm on Monday to Friday.

Tujague’s Restaurant

Tujague’s is the perfect spot in the French Quarter for you and your crew to enjoy fine-dine foods and cocktails with a casual dress code. Established 16 years after Antoine’s, Tujague’s remains the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans that has stayed active from 1856 until today. Located just 4 blocks away from the Canal streetcar line stop at Decatur Street, Tujague’s offers not only flavorful dishes and cocktails, but also spooky lores that make the dining experience at the restaurant even more intriguing. If Antoine’s is the birthplace to Rockefeller oysters, then Tujague’s is the birthplace of brunch and home to the oldest stand-up bar in America. Spicy shrimp remoulade, boiled beef brisket, and chicken bonne femme are Tujague’s trademark dishes along with its signature drinks such as Grasshopper and Whiskey Punch.

Chemin Á La Mer

If you and your partner adore a beautiful sunset on the banks of the Mississippi River, then Chemin Á La Mer is the perfect choice for a romantic dinner in the French Quarter. The restaurant is founded by Chef Donald Link, who understands and appreciates the flavors of the region.  Renowned chef Donald Link, steeped in the traditions of Southwest Louisiana’s culinary heritage, orchestrates a menu that pays homage to the region’s rich flavors. His expertise, cultivated through a childhood spent hunting, fishing, and cooking along the waterways, ensures an authentic and soulful dining experience. Chemin A La Mer’s top-notch location on the 5th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, offers an unmatched view of the Mississippi River and an evening of gastronomic delight.

Manolito

Head to Manolito in the French Quarter for the enjoyment of Cuban cuisine & frozen cocktails in an intimate, bilevel space with a homey ambiance. Manolito honors the traditions of warmth and generosity that drove the life of Manuel “Manolito” Carbajo Aguiar. This “little cradle” of the daiquiri in the French Quarter embodied the hospitality of Manuel “Manolito” Carbajo Aguiar at the legendary El Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba. Manolito’s menu features a collection of Manolito Bar and flavorful Cuban dishes. The cocktails at Manolito retain their original recipes, served since the bar’s inception and cherished across generations. Following the footsteps of Constante Ribigualgua, the former owner of El Floridita, the cantineros and cantineras at Manolito adhere faithfully to his meticulous techniques. Ribigualgua’s methods have been passed down through the decades, with Manolito himself learning and now graciously imparting them to the bartenders of New Orleans.

“The staff of Manolito invites everyone to celebrate the daiquiri culture New Orleans has always known, the way it was originally intended. ¡Salud!” –  Manolito.

Molly’s at the Market

Molly’s at the Market has been a favorite destination to many tourists and locals in New Orleans, hence why we made it a recommendation in the French Quarter for visitors to stop by when they are in town. The bar is a classic pub crawl stop known for frozen or hot Irish coffees, a laid-back vibe, andCeltic decor. Not only is Molly’s at the Market famous for its hot Irish coffees, if you and your group are out late drinking and are just in the mood for some food , then this is the spot! Drinks are not their only specialty, seafood gumbo, corned beef, and burgers are some of the options for a late night craving.

History of the French Quarter

Wandered into the fascinating history and culture of New Orleans when stopping in the French Quarter with our New Orleans city tours. The French Quarter stands as a testament to the diverse influences that have shaped the city over the centuries. Established by French colonists in 1718, this historic neighborhood has witnessed the ebb and flow of fortunes, from Spanish rule to American acquisition. Its architectural marvels, with their intricate wrought iron balconies and colorful Creole cottages, serve as a living tableau of the city’s past. From the melodies of jazz echoing through its streets to the tantalizing aromas of Cajun and Creole cuisine wafting from its renowned eateries, the French Quarter offers an immersive experience like no other. For locals, it’s a cherished enclave where tradition and modernity converge, while for international travelers, it’s a gateway to the soul of New Orleans, promising an unforgettable journey through history, music, and culinary delights. Whether strolling along its cobblestone streets or reveling in its vibrant nightlife, the French Quarter captivates the hearts and imaginations of all visitors, beckoning them to become part of its story.

Safety tips and resources

While the French Quarter fills with excitement and fascinating places to visit, there are a couple of safety tips and resources we want to include in this guide for visitors when exploring this destination on New Orleans city tours.

  1. Don’t walk around with your face on your phone, remind yourself to be aware of your surroundings. It is best to research the route to where you are going and how to get there before you leave the previous place.
  2. As charming as the French Quarter is, pickpockets still remain at large. Never keep all your cards and cash in one place, and always keep an emergency stash of cash in a hidden money belt.
  3. While New Orleans is known for the friendliness of its locals, try not to engage with people who come up to you on the street and start asking questions about yourself.
  4. If anyone tries to “give” you anything, politely refuse to accept whatever they are trying to give you. For example, if someone offers to clean your shoes or a piece of souvenir, please say no. Because, they will most likely demand payment and may become hostile if you refuse to pay them.
  5. Don’t walk down dark, empty alleys alone at night or any time in the day. Always stay with your group or bring one to two friends wherever you go.
  6. Even though being drunk is a vital part upon visiting New Orleans, try your best to not get wasted  and decide to go on a walk.
  7. Be more cautious during night time and catch an uBer from A to B when it is dark.
  8. Know about local laws before and during your visit.
  9. Look at the weather forecaster before heading out for your adventure of the day.

 

FAQ for visiting the French Quarter on New Orleans city tours

How do I navigate the streets and transportation options within and outside of the French Quarter?

  1. Walking: Streets within the French Quarter are laid out relatively straightforward, and the area is packed with pedestrians making walking the primary option of transportation.
  2. Blue Bikes Nola: all you need for this is to download the Blue Bikes Nola app. The fare is 15 cent per minute as you go or you can pay $25 per month and ride around the city all you want.
  3. Pedicabs: another fun way to get around the French Quarter. Pedicabbers are wonderful ambassadors to the city as they usually are knowledgeable riders as well as the city. Call a pedicab at 504-891-3441 and at any time of the day. Pedicabs rates are set by the city and are equal to $5 for the first 6 blocks and $1 per block after that per person.
  4. RTA streetcars and buses are another option for visitors to get around in New Orleans. Given the streetcar lines cover most uptown, downtown, and mid-city areas. Download their app “Le Pass” to find different fares to choose from.

What are some must-see attractions in the French Quarter?

Here are a few highlights of what the French Quarter has to offer when you are with our New Orleans city tours.

  1. Jackson Square
  2. St. Louis Cathedral
  3. French Market
  4. Café du Monde
  5. Wandering on Frenchmen Street to find some of the best jazz clubs and immersing yourself in the music scene of New Orleans
  6. Visit Royal Street for a more refined experience with antique shops, art galleries, and historic architecture.
  7. Strolling off of Bourbon Street for the experience of the New Orleans party scene.

What are some food places in the French Quarter that won’t cost too much?

While the French Quarter offers many fine-dining restaurants, we understand that there are times in which a simple po-boy is all you need. Here are some places for a simple meal: Killer Poboys, Coop’s Place, El Gate Negro, Meals from the Heart Cafe, Flambo, Croissant D’Or Patisserie, World Famous N’awlins Cafe & Spice Emporium.

How much does a New Orleans city tour cost?

Our New Orleans city tour is open for visitors of all ages. The tour takes about 3 hours long and costs anywhere from $54 to $68.

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a cathedral in jackson square in new orleans
French Quarter Guide

Welcome to the heart of New Orleans, the French Quarter is the grab of your hands for exploration into the charming and delightful Cajun and Creole culture. Nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River, the French Quarter boasts a vibrant tapestry of history, culture, and culinary delights. Crescent City Tours offers New Orleans city […]

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