Most visitors relish the dynamic tempo of the French Quarter, that is until we realize we’re ready to drop. Cafes offer inexpensive havens of calm and the chance to regroup until we’re ready to get back out there. A shot of caffeine, a pastry and a chance to consult our guide book, iPhone or the latest GoNOLA tid bit and we can be ready to hit the streets again. Or not. Two of the following cafes stay open until midnight.
However, the three cafes in the French Quarter do double duty, not only as resting and refueling places, but as sights worthy of their own destination. Located in historic buildings, these cafes allow visitors an extended look at Vieux Carre architecture and in one case, a classic New Orleans feature: the interior tropical courtyard.
Royal Blend Coffee and Tea
Discretely tucked away from the street, Royal Blend’s flagstone patio offers a prime example of New Orleans’ interior courtyards and what many claim is the best coffee in the Quarter with an extensive loose leaf tea menu. Salads and sandwiches are also available. Royal Blend offers free postcards and the perfect spot to compose one. Wifi is available and is open Monday – Thursday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until midnight and Sunday until 6 p.m. Royal Blend is located at 621 Royal Street and can be reached at (504) 523-2716.
Le Croissant d’Or
While Le Croissant d’Or does have a small courtyard, it’s the one of a kind Victorian tile work and trim inside that steal the show and exude a cool, calm repose. Pause at the front stoop and spot the inlaid tile from when the shop was home to Angelo Brocato (now on Carrollton Avenue in Midcity), New Orleans’ most beloved gelato maker. Croissant d’Or offers sandwiches, quiches and above all, pastries in the most wicked of French traditions. Wi-fi is available and is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. except for Tuesdays. Croissant d’Or is located at 617 Ursulines Avenue and can be reached at (504) 524-4663.
With its busy corner location at Decatur and Barracks and tables spilling out onto the sidewalk, Envie is often filled. Its position offers a great relay station between the Quarter and the Marigny. Substantial breakfasts and paninis for $8 and under are on the daily menu. Envie’s later hours present an alcohol-free alternative to bars, but there’s also a fully stocked bar if you want to make your coffee Irish. Envie is open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight and offers wi-fi. Envie is located at 1241 Decatur and can be reached at (504)524-3689.
Of course, cafes also offer their own special kind of tourism. For a few bucks you can engage in the most interesting kind of sightseeing of all: people watching. Sit outside or near a window and watch what comes by. In the Quarter, you won’t need to wait long.