The New Orleans French Market began in 1791, as a Native American trading post on the banks of the Mississippi and has endured to become the oldest trading market in America. Rich in history and located at the foot of the French Quarter, minutes from Bourbon Street, the New Orleans French Market is an open air market where you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, delicious spices, gourmet coffee, souvenirs and a taste of old Europe.
New Orleans French Market
Historical records show the diversity of the inhabitants blended wonderfully to make this market an unusual experience. As the Spanish and French traded ownership, different cultures merged into this market to show their wares. There are stories of travelers in the 1800’s who visited the early market and witnessed: “Gascon butchers, the Italian and Spanish fruit vendors, the German vegetable women; there are Moors, with their strings of beads and crosses, fresh from the Holy Land . . . Chinese and Hindu, Jew and Teuton, French and Creole, Malay, Irish, and English, all uniting in an ceaseless babble of tongues that is simply bewildering.”
Today, the market primarily functions as a tourist attraction with several events that happen throughout the year like the annual Creole Tomato Festival. There is also lots of activity to be had here during the famous Mardi Gras and New Orleans Jazz Festival. No New Orleans trip is complete without a walk through the New Orleans French Market to experience the sights, smells and sounds of this city.
Start with the flea market area where you can find all kinds of odds and ends being traded by the locals. Walk further and you can find jazz CDs, candy (including the pralines New Orleans is famous for), trinkets, souvenirs, cajun spices and sauces and so much more. There is a crafts bazaar with places to browse and buy African and Latin American art, as well as handmade paper products. There are also plenty of places to eat in the New Orleans French Market!
At the French Market New Orleans you can also find several restaurants at which you can taste the local fare. There are snack vendors as well as several sit down restaurants. Nosh on some Jambalaya, barbecued shrimp or for the more adventurous, try the alligator on a stick treat. More often than not you are likely to see live jazz performances at the restaurants in the French Market New Orleans. A must-see on your things to do list in the New Orleans French Market is to stop at the world famous Café du Monde where you can drink a fine cup of coffee or café au lait and munch on a beignet (a deep fried donut with powdered sugar on top). You can also grab a specialty cocktail at the nearby restaurants in this bustling market. For a true taste of the south, sit down at a bar in the French Market and sip on a mint julep.
If you want a real treat on your next New Orleans vacation, stay at a hotel in this part of the French Quarter. There are several to choose from, including the French Market Inn New Orleans. A beautiful eighteenth-century inn, the French market Inn New Orleans is across from Café du Monde and has views of the Mississippi. A true French quarter experience, this antique hotel was once the home of famed Baroness de Pontalba. The French Market Inn New Orleans was recently renovated to return the hotel to its historical splendor. The boutique guest rooms, lush garden courtyard and proximity to the French Market, make the French Market Inn a great way to experience the French Market New Orleans.
No matter how you experience the French Market in New Orleans, make sure it’s on the top of your things-to-do list on your next vacation to Louisiana.