In the heart of New Orleans, LA the historical and cultural center known as the French Quarter is the oldest part of the city. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville founded the square in 1718 and the district is now regarded as a National Historic Landmark due to its diversity of culture and architecture. The existence of the different styles can be traced back to the Great New Orleans Fire, which destroyed many of the existing buildings in 1788. Shortly after the fire, there was a period of Spanish rule in the city, during part of the 18th and 19th centuries. This allowed the colony's rulers to redesign and reconstruct the neighborhood in modern Spanish style. As one of the oldest neighborhoods within New Orleans, the city aims to preserve the buildings in the historic center. Houses and shops in this area have been protected by law since the 1920s and cannot be renovated or demolished without special permission from the city. Admiring the architecture is not the only reason this area should be toured; there are many cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops that add to the character of the French Quarter. This lively neighborhood is a center for both locals and tourists to enjoy with an array of things to do and see throughout the year.



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There are a variety of attractions within the neighborhood that add to the culture of the historic and cultural district. Its Old World charm is evident in the range of old homes, public spaces, museum, and tours to experience. The 1850 House is a preserved house that acts as a museum to educate visitors on how a typical middle-class family lived during a very prosperous period in the history of New Orleans. Throughout the years, there have been many different waves of immigrants who occupied the area. In the Irish Cultural Museum of New Orleans, the exhibits tell the story of the 200-year-old history of Irish influence in the city. In the outdoor areas of the district, there are many different streets and squares that are well-worth a visit. Jackson Square is a beautiful park and gardens filled with street performers and local artistry, and is located directly beside the charming St. Louis Cathedral. Constructed in 1724, this is the oldest active Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States. In contrast to the history of Catholicism, the mystical roots of Louisiana can be explored in the Bottom of the Cup Tea Room, which is a popular shop for jewelry, crystals, and tea where you can also find out your future. To learn more about the spiritual history of New Orleans, the Voodoo Museum tells the story of how Voodoo became an aspect of society, beginning in the 1700s. Exploring the mysteries and legends of mysticism, exhibits and haunted cemetery walking tours educate visitors about the unique traditions that have shaped this city. Another very popular attraction that encompasses seeing the entire French Quarter is a tour on the steamboat Natchez. Taking this riverboat down the Mississippi offers a new perspective on the bustling district. With tours running three times during the day, be sure to watch sunset on the cruise while enjoying the sounds of New Orleans jazz during dinner.

This historical hotspot is more than just a beautiful area to visit, it also has an amazing array of authentic local food to try. The combination of Creole and Cajun cuisine and the infusion of Italian and Irish culture into the neighborhood has created a hotspot for restaurants and cafés. Some must-try eateries include Antoine's, Central Grocery, The Gumbo Shop, and Café du Monde. However, for an outdoor food experience, visit the old French Market, which is the oldest public market in the United States. Founded in 1791, this open-air cultural hub features shopping, dining, and traditional music. Many different foods are displayed in the market, and a wide array of products are sold here.

When it comes to shopping in the French Quarter, the area is filled with colorful boutiques, specialized shops, and galleries. It should come as no surprise that in this historic area there is a surplus of charming antique stores selling everything from books to accessories. Browsing around these quirky shops adds to the distinct character of the French Quarter. Mixed in between the antique stores and boutiques on Royal Street there are many shops displaying the beautiful works of local artists. Spending time exploring the unique shops while interacting with the friendly locals gives visitors a glimpse into the welcoming and diverse French Quarter.

The French Quarter, New Orleans, LA

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