As our taxi made its way off of the I-10E and weaved its way to Decatur Street, we couldn’t help but get excited as the steeples of the St. Louis Cathedral came into view. Despite the frigid December weather, tourists and locals alike were out in full force, seemingly celebrating in the streets of the inviting French Quarter. And even from the confines of our cab, their energy was palpable.
We soon arrived at our destination: the French Market Inn. Located in the heart of the French Quarter just steps away from the mighty Mississippi, Café Du Monde, Jackson Square, the French Market, and Bourbon Street, it goes without saying that the French Market Inn is in the center of all the action.
As we stepped into the lobby, I was immediately transported to a time not so long ago when French and Louisiana Creoles dominated these parts.
As we waited to check-in, I peeped into the hotel’s courtyard which we later learned was where horse-drawn carriages picked up and dropped off goods at this property that was originally used as both a bakery and a living quarter for the Dreux family who purchased the place back in 1722.
During check-in, the desk clerk informed us that in the early 1830s, the property was bought by Baroness Pontalba y Almonaster who wanted to convert the real estate into an inn. Pictures of the baroness are displayed throughout the lobby.
It was around this time that guests first started noting ghost sightings around the property and hearing loud noises in the hallways. Fortunately, we didn’t have any otherworldly sightings during our stay, but considering the history in and around the French Quarter, it wasn’t too surprising to learn that this hotel is haunted.
My brother and youngest nephew, Xavier, were assigned a room in a separate building from ours, and to get there, we had to walk through the property’s mysterious exposed-brick alleyways and up a few flights of stairs. Many rooms even feature stone steps at the doorways which gives the hotel an added touch of character.
Going for the economical option, we chose to stay in a petite room. Although the interior rooms are also budget-friendly, they lack windows which is a no-no for someone like me who tends to get claustrophobic and who’s always looking for alternative emergency escape routes. Although our room was basic, it was clean and modern.
Although it was far too cold for us to take a dip in the courtyard pool, it was nice to know that we wouldn’t have had to venture far to cool down if we’d stayed during the humid summertime instead.
Overall, the best part of the French Market Inn is definitely its location. Each night we were able to venture out and try new restaurants that were within easy walking distance, and during the day, it was great to know that just about everywhere we wanted to explore was no more than a 15-minute walk away although it did take us a bit longer to walk to Tremé just outside of the French Quarter. One afternoon, we took a leisurely stroll through Woldenberg Park along the river, just off of Front Street which is right across from the hotel. Canal Street is also a short walk away. From there, we were able to catch the St. Charles Streetcar which took us through the city’s gorgeous Garden District.
Today, the French Market Inn is part of the Valentino Hotels family which includes four other hotels in and around the French Quarter. Be sure to check the hotel’s website for current rates and availability.