We’re making French Quarter exploration a little easier with our list 5 historic spots (in a part of the city that’s full of them!). Whether you choose to explore them all in one day or take it a few at a time, we think you’ll enjoy learning more about New Orleans’ robust history through these picturesque examples of architecture.

Napoleon House. (Photo via Flickr user Todd Murray)

Napoleon House. (Photo via Flickr user Todd Murray)

1. 1850 House (Inside the Lower Pontalba Building)

Located inside one of the historic Pontalba Buildings on St. Ann Street in Jackson Square, the 1850 House offers a glimpse of antebellum life in New Orleans. Part of the Louisiana State Museum collection, this beautiful spot right on Jackson Square replicates nineteenth-century Parisian architecture, a favorite style of Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, the woman who bought the property and commissioned the buildings (incidentally, her father helped finance other famous local architecture like The Cabildo and St. Louis Cathedral). Inside 1850 House, you can browse period-specific paintings, china, furnishing, and decor. Downstairs, there’s a well-appointed gift shop perfect for browsing for souvenirs.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $3 for adults, $2 for seniors, students, and military (with ID), and free for children under 12

2. The Old U.S. Mint

In the past, all United States currency was printed at the Old U.S. Mint, which was built in 1838. The Mint today is equal parts historic museum and musical concert space: Music at the Mint features exhibitions and even live performances, while the Louisiana Historical Center has a more traditional museum exhibit feel. Located on Esplanade Avenue, this free museum has an architecture reflective of the Greek Revival style.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

3. Old Ursuline Convent

Built on Chartres Street in 1752, Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. It’s the oldest example of the French colonial period still standing in the United States, and for just $5 (or less), you can explore inside and marvel at details like a hand-crafted cypress staircase, oil paintings featuring past archbishops, religious statues, bronze busts, and more. The building has had many purposes over the centuries, whether used as a convent, an orphanage, and even a makeshift hospital. The self-guided tours let you reflect on all of these functions while gaining a deeper understanding of the building’s rich history. After your tour, go to the walled courtyard behind the main building. It’s a secluded and peaceful spot perfect for reflecting on the principles of the Ursuline Sisters who first founded the convent.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students (with ID), and free for children under 6
4. Hotel Monteleone

Our sister property Hotel Monteleone is one of the French Quarter’s historic gems. Built in 1886 in its same location on Royal Street, Hotel Monteleone offers a unique balance between historic detail and modern amenities. Literary figures like Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams have a direct connection to the hotel, which even features literary suites designed to honor these authors. If you’re staying at Bienville House, you can walk over the Monteleone and note historic details throughout the hotel, like the grandfather clock in the lobby.

5. Napoleon House

Napoleon House was never actually a home for Napoleon Bonaparte, but the owner at the time offered up the historic building to Napoleon, if he needed it, as refuge during his exile. The building itself dates from 1797, and it’s been family-owned since 1914. Sit inside and enjoy the historic details or take your Pimm’s Cup outside to enjoy the beautiful outdoor courtyard. NOLA favorites like Sazeracs and muffulettas are also on the menu at this European-style bar and restaurant.