Keeping it Real: Fun French history in the French Quarter…at the French Market, of course!

The historic French Market is a place you can take your kids for a nice intro to New Orleans’ history…and then reinforce that history is fun by enjoying some freshly made beignets or pralines when your lesson is done!

We live among history … share it with your kids!

One simple thing you can teach your children while strolling the modern Market for some treasures is that while it is called the French Market, the Spanish were actually responsible for creating it! It was the Spanish who ordered the previously informal trading post to become an official market and began its construction in 1779, completed in 1791.

Not until the 1850s, three decades after other public markets made their presence around town, did its overriding importance diminish so that it needed greater designation as the “French Market.” This was so because, although founded by the Spanish, it was the market in the “French” part of town, and because many of the butchers were French, either Creoles or foreign. {Source here.}

Indeed, Café du Monde was formerly a butcher shop!

Did you know that Bastille Day Fete is THIS weekend?

Annual events at the French Market embrace and emphasize the city’s French history. Each Bastille Day weekend, the French Market plays host to events in partnership with French organizations throughout the City, from a wreath laying ceremony at the Joan of Arc statue hosted by the French Consulate General to a much less PicMonkey Collage2formal event, the French Dog Contest. The French American Chamber of Commerce, Alliance Francaise and The Council of French Societies join forces to bring French activities to the French Quarter that weekend, culminating in the French Market’s Bartender and Waiters Race!

Each activity has a family-friendly element to it;  after the wreath laying ceremony and a public singing of the French national anthem La Marseillaise, a Marie Antoinette character hands out complimentary red velvet cupcakes. Following the dog costume contest, a brass band leads a pup and public procession through the French Market District. The Bartender and Waiters Race has costumed French maids, mimes, and Napoleon, among other characters to add even more comic relief to an already hilarious speed walking race.

French music, French food, and plenty of blue, white and red, not to mention the local French citizens and French tourists who come out to enjoy the event, add a wonderful element of internationalism to our city and to the French Market for this special weekend honoring French Independence Day.

Click here for a full schedule of BASTILLE DAY FETE 2013 activities.  



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