Historic Four-Star Hotel near French Quarter
With chandeliers imported from Europe, hand-carved antiques, and cherubs on marble pedestals in the lobby, Le Pavillon surrounds guests with elegance from the moment they arrive. But that doesn’t mean the hotel sacrifices any southern hospitality. Each night at 10 p.m., the kitchen staff serves peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, cold milk, and mugs full of hot chocolate in the lobby. This tradition started nearly 30 years ago, when a traveler asked if the hotel had any late-night comfort foods. The hotel met his request, and has made this homey touch a tradition ever since.
Built in 1907, the hotel landed on the National Register of Historic Places in the ‘90s—and for good reason. The bar came from a former Chicago hotel and dates back to 1880, and one of the palace suites has a marble bathtub thought to have been owned by Napoleon Bonaparte. The hotel’s deluxe guest rooms feature hand-carved mahogany armoires, painted vignettes on the ceilings, and black marble vanities. Leisure king rooms are extra luxurious; each has a separate sitting area decorated with a full-size sofa and coffee table.
New Orleans’s French Quarter: Let the Good Times Roll
“Stop thinking of New Orleans as the worst-organized city in the United States,” writes author Dan Baum in Nine Lives, his post-Katrina book. “Start thinking of it as the best-organized city in the Caribbean.” Some folks think there is something distinctly foreign about New Orleans, a place where people’s priorities seem inclined toward enjoying life and relishing the moment at hand. Nothing says it better than the town’s unofficial Cajun creed: “Laissez les bons temp rouler,” or “Let the good times roll.”
Historical buildings with intricate wrought-iron balconies line the narrow streets of New Orleans’s French Quarter. Here, street musicians often fill the air with jazz music, their trombones and tubas swinging back and forth. Just off the Jackson Square park and near the towering St. Louis Cathedral, the legendary Café Du Monde serves beignets under heaping piles of powdered sugar, as well as cups of iced or steaming café au lait.
And then there’s Bourbon Street, where neon lights advertise frozen cocktails and gaudy strip clubs and crowds gather along 13 city blocks. The nearby Frenchmen Street, just north of the Quarter, provides a slightly less touristy taste of New Orleans nightlife. Some of the city’s most popular live jazz and blues bars dominate this historic two-block district, with each venue hosting world-class musicians nearly every night of the week. Jazz fills the air at the Spotted Cat Music Club, where a sign warns that both drinks and drunks are barred from the piano—but like all rules in New Orleans, it’s one that’s bound to get bent from time to time.