Royal Street is among the most famous roads in New Orleans. It runs parallel to party-mad Bourbon Street and the historic walks of Chartres Street to form the beating heart of the legendary French Quarter, but also rolls north and east into the districts of Marigny and hip Bywater. You certainly won't get bored here, what with there being more trumpet-echoing honky-tonks and curious haberdashery shops than you can shake a po'boy sub sandwich at.

    Royal Street in New Orleans - one of the highlights of 10 Most Popular Streets in New Orleans and 10 Best Places to Go Shopping in New Orleans (Read all about New Orleans here)

    photo de MusikAnimal (CC BY-SA 4.0) modifiée

    A brief history of Royal Street

    Royal Street is actually one of the oldest streets in the whole of New Orleans. It was part of the original urban plan, forged back in the late 1700s by the French colonial city founder, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Its purpose? A centre of commerce, with one foot in the downtown and another on the ports of the Mississippi.

    That's exactly what Royal Street became and continued to be during the Spanish rule of New Orleans. That period also saw the addition of several Baroque residences to complement the French architecture and laid the foundations for a strip that still reigns as one of the town's major retail precincts.

    photo de MusikAnimal (CC BY-SA 4.0) modifiée

    What are the highlights of Royal Street?

    Just look around – the highlights of Royal Street are in the sheer handsomeness of the street itself. Everywhere you turn is a wrought-iron balcony, a carved Victorian veranda, or an elegant 1800s mansion plumed in sub-tropical ferns and flower baskets. All that changes as you head north to the Marigny part of Royal Street. There, you can also encounter traditional Creole shotgun houses and graffiti-strewn walls.

    Royal Street has its fair share of entertainments, too. The intersection of Royal and St Peter can sometimes feel like New Orleans's answer to Hyde Park Corner, with buskers and street performers doing their tricks. Hungry? There are hidden café-bars serving Southern comfort fare in leafy courtyards. Check out the famous Court of the Two Sisters and fine-dining Brennan's, which faces the grand Louisiana Supreme Court.

    photo de MusikAnimal (CC BY-SA 4.0) modifiée

    Where to go shopping on Royal Street?

    If there's one thing that Royal Street does better than any other part of the French Quarter, it's shopping. Bourbon Street and Decatur handle the parties, but this long run of galleries, concept stores, and curiosity shops are all about unique New Orleans retail therapy.

    Lovers of bespoke art won't be disappointed. Around the whole intersection with Canal Street you'll find the likes of the quirky Kezic Gallery and the fine art of the Lozano & Barbuti Gallery. What's more, there are more antique emporiums than you can hope to get through in a day. Add to that a mix of haunting Voodoo trinket stores and New Age magic shops and it's easy to see why this is a window browser's dream.

    photo de MusikAnimal (CC BY-SA 4.0) modifiée

    Good to know about Royal Street

    Royal Street is one of the main drags of New Orleans. If you're planning on staying anywhere near the famous French Quarter, it's going to be within walking distance. The easy way to find it is to navigate to the western side of the Mississippi River and then go 2 blocks in. Viola – that's Royal.

    Royal Street is often considered a quieter alternative to Bourbon Street, but don't go thinking that means it's serene. It still thrums with life and energy until the early hours, especially on weekends and during Mardi Gras. You might want to stay elsewhere if you're coming with the little ones.

    Royal Street in New Orleans

    Emplacement : Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

    Joseph Francis | Auteur collaborateur

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