One block over from the raucousness of Bourbon Street is the French Quarter's more refined and elegant epicenter of local artistic culture. Royal Street is an eye-pleasing mix of classy antique shops and boutiques, fine jewelry stores, colorful art galleries and world-class hotels and restaurants.
It is no wonder tourists and locals alike flock to Royal Street when they want a real New Orleans experience. Some of the most picturesque and most frequently photographed buildings and iron lace balconies - many of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries - are along the 13-block stretch of Royal between Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue. World-class restaurants with scenic courtyards - containing bubbling sculptured fountains and colorful gardens - offer a pleasant, shady respite from the elements. Art galleries contain sculptures, paintings and mixed media from artists who are on a par with any residing in New York, San Francisco or other fine art meccas, including George Rodrigue and his internationally renowned 'Blue Dog.'