Welcome to The French Quarter

Getting Around

French Quarter streets are laid out in a grid pattern. Locals describe locations based on the proximity to the river or the lake and to uptown or downtown. Thus, "it's on the downtown, lakeside corner" indicates that a destination in the Quarter is on the northeast corner. Locals also refer to the number block that a site is on (as in "the 500 block of Royal Street"). Numbers across the top of the map are applicable to all streets parallel to North Rampart Street. Streets perpendicular to North Rampart start at 500 at Decatur Street and progress north in increments of 100.

Making the Most of Your Time

Many visitors never leave the French Quarter, which is the center of New Orleans. Daytime offers history buffs, antiques lovers, shoppers, and foodies a feast of delights; street performers around Jackson Square are always entertaining; and the Quarter lights up with fine and casual dining, live music, and the infamous Bourbon Street debauchery at night. This is a destination you can enjoy 24 hours a day.

Safety

Exercise the same caution here that you would in any major city. Closer to the river, the French Quarter is busy day and night, and there is safety in numbers. Farther from the river and closer to Rampart Street or the more residential area, crowds thin, and opportunities for theft grow slightly higher. It's advisable to use extra caution at these outer edges of the French Quarter.

Quick Bites

Café du Monde. Open around the clock for late-night treats Café du Monde has been serving up café au lait and beignets for more than a century. If the open-air café is crowded, go around back to the take-out window and enjoy your treats on the Mississippi riverfront. 800 Decatur St., French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70116. 504/525–4544; www.cafedumonde.com.

Napoleon House Bar and Café. The house specialty Pimm's Cup can be enjoyed in the lush courtyard or in the cool interior, along with bites like pulled-duck po'boys. The residence was built in 1797 and was purportedly chosen as Napoléon's New World residence in an escape plan hatched for the exiled emperor. 500 Chartres St., French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130. 504/524–9752; www.napoleonhouse.com. Closed Sun..

Pirates Alley Cafe. A favorite for tourists looking to drink absinthe, the tiny Pirates Alley Café is an ideal setting for a quick cocktail, espresso, or glass of wine, next to St. Louis Cathedral. 622 Pirates Alley, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70116. 504/524–9332; www.piratesalleycafe.com.

Verti Marte Deli. Pick up a sandwich or a hot lunch to-go from this distinctly New Orleans take on a deli, open 24 hours—and a prime refueling point for the late-night bar crawl. If you're really hungry, try the All That Jazz po'boy (ham, turkey, shrimp, and two cheeses with grilled mushrooms and tomatoes). 1201 Royal St., French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70116. 504/525–4767; www.vertimarte.com.

Top Reasons To Go

Queue up for beignets. Anytime is the right time for powdered-sugar-topped beignets and café au lait from Café du Monde.

Take in Jackson Square. Mule-drawn carriage tours, artists selling their wares, and quirky street performers and musicians converge on Jackson Square, with the historic St. Louis Cathedral as a backdrop.

Go treasure hunting. The French Market and the random stores and warehouses that surround it are great for finding inexpensive souvenirs.

Drink up. From rowdy Bourbon Street to fancy hotel bars, you'll never go thirsty. Savor your cocktail in a beautiful courtyard, or ask for a "go cup."

Gallery hop on Royal Street. Fine antiques, upscale boutiques, and artwork abound on this classy thoroughfare.

Groove to live music. The French Quarter has some great music venues, including Preservation Hall, the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub, and One-Eyed Jack's.

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