Wander down Esplanade towards the river on the quiet side of the French Quarter early morning, and you’ll run smack into the French Market, a beehive of sellers unpacking their wares, artists setting up shop and food vendors preparing all manner of delectables, as it’s coming to life. The market was originally a Choctaw trading post dating back to 1791. It attracted French trappers, seafood hawkers and more than a few rowdy sailors to its riverside hub. Today, one of the oldest farmers markets in America is open daily. Explore the six-block open-air colonnade of produce, souvenirs and freshly prepared local dishes from Gulf oysters to muffulettas. Besides the likes of alligator-on-a-stick and hot sauce, you'll find stands packed with jewelry, hand bags, cheap sunglasses, and all things fleur-de-lis.
French Market, 1235 N. Peters Street, 504.596.3420, frenchmarket.org