French Quarter Facades, Strolling Through History
We hopped a plane to begin our three week adventure home in which we weren’t going to go home at all. We headed to the States but, wouldn’t actually be heading to my hometown on this trip.
Our first week would be spent in New Orleans, Louisiana with many of our family members also making the trip down to celebrate some birthdays, some babies and some love. My husband and I hadn’t been to New Orleans before and were thrilled to see something new together.
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Our hotel was situated in the French Quarter, the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans and probably the most popular location for tourists to the city to stay. Just two blocks from the very popular Bourbon Street and a few more blocks from the must-eat-at Cafe du Monde, we found our hotel. The French Quarter is a picturesque collection of colorful and well preserved buildings in multiple architectural styles. Though the name would suggest that the area is dominated by French influence, most of the buildings to see now were built during the 18th century and reflect a more Spanish style and Creole style of architecture. Since the 1920s, the area has been protected by law and no demolition or renovations are permitted unless they follow city regulations and preserve the period of the area.
If you’re heading to New Orleans, check out Ace Hotel New Orleans for a rustic urban hotel in the heart of the French Quarter for a simple yet chic stay with all of the amenities. The Hotel Le Marais also offers very chic ambiance in a great location or if you want something with more old world charm and history, check out The Magnolia Mansion.
One of the more popular architectural styles in the area is the Creole townhouse. The buildings in this style were built after the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788. The front of the buildings are easy to spot with a collection of asymmetrical arched openings. They have steeply pitched roofs and are made of brick and as you stroll along the streets of the French Quarter you’ll notice tourists taking photos and enjoying the ambiance around them among these beautiful buildings. Bike buggies and horse drawn carriages take people on rides along the streets and the drivers are extremely interested in sharing their knowledge of the area and answering any questions guests may have. The locals of the area are really endearing and helpful with so many stories and information and gave us some wonderful experiences while we enjoyed the quarter. These days the buildings house restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and inns and residences as well.
All of the buildings from the Creole cottages and California-style bungalow houses to the shotgun houses make for some beautiful views in the easy to walk neighborhood. If I could change anything about the trip, it would probably be the timing though. In the heat of the summer, the smells of the area can be overwhelming and not in the pleasant way. Odors of stale beer and piss waft along Bourbon Street and even if you didn’t know where you were along a walk in the area, you’d know by the smell when you’d crossed over that busy avenue. As we had jetlag, we took a very early morning walk which seemed like a good idea, until it was apparent that the trash from the night before had been piled up along the streets and hadn’t yet been cleared away.
If you’re going to take a walk, anytime after 8 in the morning would be best to miss the trash stacks. The beautiful views and the delicious food offset the bitter scents that may float into the air in the heat of the summer though and I’d recommend this area to anyone in the mood to be sent back to the 1920s.
The sounds of horse hooves clomping on pavement and jazz and blues music drifting into the streets from bars, cafes and restaurants at all hours of the day fills the ears while delicious food is abundant to treat the taste buds. A trip to the French Quarter is all about the sights, the sounds and the food.