Explore Louisiana with a private car and driver on a new itinerary from Audley Travel
Audley Travel has introduced a new sample itinerary for its tailor-made trips to Louisiana, designed as an alternative to self-drive itineraries for those clients who would rather travel by private transfer.
The 11-day itinerary takes in New Orleans, Vacherie, Baton Rouge and Lafayette with highlights including a Cajun cookery class, exploring plantations to discover Louisiana's rich history, sampling Baton Rouge's many craft breweries and visiting the country's largest river swamp, looking out for a bald eagle at the Atchafalaya Basin.
The trip starts with three nights in New Orleans, with a two-hour cooking experience to learn about Cajun and Creole cuisine. Clients will watch a local chef prepare traditional classics such as shrimp gumbo, jambalaya and bread pudding before sampling the dishes.
Audley’s specialists recommend spending some time wandering the streets of the French Quarter or escaping the tourist trail on a walking tour of the Garden District before unwinding with a Sazerac at a local jazz bar. On the final evening in the city, clients enjoy a performance at the Preservation Hall, an intimate and prestigious music venue that hosts the city’s traditional jazz musicians.
Clients then enjoy a relaxing journey into plantation country by private transfer. This area is along the southwestern edge of the Mississippi River and has a number of grand plantation homes that are open to the public for tours. Audley’s specialists recommend staying for two nights at Oak Alley Plantation, famous for its 800ft long allée of oaks running from the Mississippi River to the main house. Louisiana’s Creole Heritage Sites, such as Laura Plantation, are a recommended visit to learn about the experiences of those enslaved on the plantation from first-hand accounts.
Continuing by private transfer, clients travel to the state capital of Baton Rouge. Audley’s specialists recommend taking advantage of a free guided tour of the State Capitol, which is an excellent example of art deco design and the tallest of its kind in the United States. The Louisiana State Museum and the Old State Capitol, a historic building that houses a museum of political history with interactive exhibits, are also recommended.
The final stop of the trip is Lafayette, the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country. Activities here include exploring the historic village of Vermilionville on a guided tour, learning about the Creole and American Indian cultures from 1765 to 1890. An evening spot not to be missed is the Blue Moon Saloon, a honky-tonk known across America for its roots music.
Audley’s specialists say that no trip to Louisiana is complete without visiting one of the wildlife and birdlife-rich swamps. The Atchafalaya Basin is one of the most eco-diverse swamps in the USA, with bald cypress trees rising above the murky waters and alligators resting on the banks. Travelling on a small boat tour, clients head out onto the water to discover the hidden corners of the basin looking for over 38 species of bird, curious alligators, playful beavers and otters and grazing deer.
Will Scott, Product Manager for the USA at Audley Travel, says: “Our USA self-drive itineraries are generally very popular with clients, but we appreciate that many will welcome the chance to be driven on their trip. Louisiana was the ideal place to develop an itinerary based on travel by private transfer - with direct flights from London to New Orleans and no need to drive, clients can spend more time tasting their way around the culinary pleasures of America's Deep South.”
An 11-day tailor-made trip, Exploring Cajun Country, costs from £3,205 per person (based on two sharing) and includes flights, private transfers, accommodation and excursions. For more information visit audleytravel.com/USA or call 01993 838 755.
With so much delicious food to try in New Orleans, Audley has developed a new food guide sharing locals’ secrets on where to find the best traditional tastes. Highlights include beignets (palm-sized rectangles of dough fried into puffed golden pillows with a thick coating of icing sugar) and praline (creamy and full of pecans – very different to the traditional French treat) as well as Louisiana staples of gumbo (stew) and red beans with rice (a long-simmered dish usually seasoned with pickled pork and andouille sausage).