I’ve been making an annual visit to New Orleans for a decade and just recently discovered the best way to see this miraculous city: on two wheels! The folks at FreeWheelin’ Bike Tours certainly know how to bike the Big Easy.
We pedaled out of the French Quarter to the beautiful tree lined Esplanade Ave – the dividing point between the Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Magnificent antebellum homes adorn the thoroughfare, each one a historical treasure. Our “Creole & Crescent” tour then rolled past the Edgar Degas house, the Fair Grounds Race Course (home to the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival), and City Park – an inspiring outdoor oasis that I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t previously know existed.
City Park is one of the oldest urban parks in the country. Made up of 1300 acres, the park houses a wonderful sculpture garden, the New Orleans Museum of Art, a botanical garden, and “Morning Call” cafe. This is Morning Call’s second outpost and a local favorite serving classic café au lait and beignets 24 hours a day since 1870 (nearly as old as Café Du Monde but with half the powdered sugar). We rode by 800-year-old oak trees, beautiful ponds with paddleboats, and even gondolas! City Park felt hundreds of miles away from the Bourbon Street brawl that many associate with the city.
We continued our tour through the Treme and past the historic St. Augustine Catholic Church, which features the moving memorial “Tomb of the unknown Slave.” Though the Treme was devastated during hurricane Katrina, ten years later there seemed to be a resurgence, which was an uplifting end to our afternoon bike ride.
As we made our way back to the Quarter it seemed premature to say farewell to my new mode of transport, so I extended my rental for the remainder of my visit. “Gumbo, beignets, and po-boy’s be gone!” I was a peddling machine from Tulane to Algiers, exploring all that New Orleans has to offer.
“Laissez le bon temps rouler.”
To plan your very own Crescent City adventure, please contact your favorite Jet Set World Travel advisor.