The sun came up early, peeking through the wooden slats of the antique blinds hanging in the room of our bed and breakfast, calling us out to explore. We walked from our cozy B&B on Esplanade, to the French Quarter, stopping frequently to take in the beautiful day and incredible architecture that surrounded us. New Orleans is unlike any other place I have been before. The city lives at a slower, more laid-back pace. Coming from the bustling DC metro area, it was a welcome change. People stroll the streets absentmindedly, below the tall old Oak trees dressed with exotic Spanish moss hanging from the limbs. There seems to be an emphasis on enjoying the good things in life, like beignets, hot coffee and fantastic Cajun fare.
In the French Quarter we stumbled into an adorable little shop called the Idea Factory. The walls were filled top to bottom with hand-crafted wooden toys that were each uniquely and beautifully built works of art.
As we made our way deeper into the heart of the “Big Easy” we followed our noses to the famous Cafe Du Monde. We watched the baker craft perfectly fluffy beignets through the teal window until we could no longer resist. We wandered to the front but found a line much longer than our stomachs could manage. Upon the suggestions of fellow travelers (on Yelp) we decided to head over a few blocks to Cafe Beignet. We encountered no line there, and thoroughly enjoyed our beignets and lattes on the open patio below tall trees. There was even a band playing in the street that made our stop there absolute perfection.
We spent the rest of the day exploring and eating our way through New Orleans, and at night we headed to Mimi’s Upstairs, a gritty bar on the outskirts of the French Quarter for live music and tapas, ending our fun exploration of New Orleans.