The original settlement of New Orleans, called Vieux Carré, French Quarter or simply The Quarter, is the oldest neighborhood in the city. Established by the French in 1718, the location was, and is still, a valuable site for trade due to its strategic position along the Mississippi River.
The district as a whole, bound by Canal Street, Decatur Street, Esplanade Avenue and Rampart Street, is a National Historic Landmark. The French Quarter boasts a storied history of international influence with cultural contributions from the French, Spanish, Italians, Sicilians, Africans, Irish and others - all evident in the development of this global port settlement.
So much of what makes New Orleans unique is captured in the melting pot atmosphere of the French Quarter - from the raucous party atmosphere of Bourbon Street to the bohemian elegance of Royal. It's a neighborhood full of surprises and magic.
The neighborhood's stunning architecture is the dominant feature likely to first catch one's eye. Balconies adorned with intricate ironwork and courtyards filled with lush greenery and fountains showcase the French Quarter's European roots.
Powerful fires in 1788 and 1794 mean that most of the architectural stylings you observe are the handiwork of the Spanish who ruled - and rebuilt - the city at the time. Many buildings don ceramic plaques informing visitors of the street names during Spanish rule such as Calle de Borbon.
Life in the Quarter centers around New Orleans' most famous landmark, Jackson Square. Originally known as the Place d'Armes, the square was renamed to honor Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. The square is flanked by historic structures such as the St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytere and Cabildo (which house the Louisiana State Museums) and the Pontalba Apartments (the oldest apartment buildings in the U.S.).
Walk the beautiful gardens inside the square, make a wish as you toss a coin into the fountain and take that iconic New Orleans photograph. The creative culture of the Quarter is embraced by the collection of fortune tellers, artists and musicians who surround Jackson Square. And just across the street is the famed Café du Monde, serving up beignets and café au lait 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Every street in the French Quarter has something to offer from classic restaurants, music venues, boutique shopping to voodoo temples. Some of the most popular areas include: Royal Street, Chartres Street and Bourbon Street - and no trip to the Quarter is complete without a trip to the historic French Market for souvenirs.
A variety of guided tours are available covering topics such as haunted, historical, culinary and even cocktail. Many visitors choose to explore the French Quarter using the neighborhood's original mode of transportation - the mule-drawn carriage.
The Quarter's allure draws millions of visitors each year. Come stroll the streets of this exotic neighborhood - full of mystery, magic and fun. We guarantee, there's nothing else like it.