Lafayette is a festival and event destination. Celebrating the area’s French heritage is the annual four day Festival International de Louisiana in late April. Performers from all over the world attend this free annual music and arts extravaganza which has been voted as the “Best World Music Festival” for several years running. Louisiana’s second largest Mardi Gras is held in Lafayette at the end of February/early March each year and has 8 colourful parades through the city streets. Later in the year (September) the Festivals Acadiens draws music fans from far and wide to enjoy the foot tapping fiddles, accordions, guitars and drums of local bands. There are also state fairs, film festivals, drum shows, marching bands festivals and many others exciting events celebrating Cajun and Creole culture. Lafayette enjoys hot summers (June-August) and mild winters (November to February). The most popular times for visitors is during the spring, summer and autumn, especially when the various festivals are in full swing. Cheap flights and combined cheap hotel bookings are often available during the quieter winter months. Lafayette has a variety of holiday accommodation on offer, from high quality hotels, national branded inns and local guest houses. Late deals are often a good way to secure discounts, especially outwith the peak season months.
The lively city of Lafayette lies on the banks of the serene Vermilion River in the heart of Acadiana. It is located in the flat south-western Louisiana Prairie Terrace on the West Gulf Coastal Plain and fortunately missed most of the devastation caused by the two hurricanes Rita and Katrina. It is the centre of Cajun culture and Louisiana’s rich heritage where French, Caribbean and Spanish traditions have melded together resulting in a vibrant “Joie de Vivre” (Joy of Living) way of life. To fully appreciate the city’s past, a visit to the living Vermilionville History Museum is a must: here you can experience the old style Cajun and Creole cooking, crafts, arts and music. The Acadian Village, set in 32 acres, lets you get a feel of 19th Century Cajun life with authentic buildings and reconstructed interiors. Discover the bayous and marshes of South Louisiana with a visit to beautiful Avery Island. Spot local wildlife on the island, from alligators to raccoons and teeming birdlife such as the snowy egrets. It is here that the famous Tabasco pepper sauce is produced and visitors can take a ‘Food Tour’ around the factory. Integral to Lafayette’s community is music and dancing combined with eating, and there is a great selection of neighbourhood restaurants that feature live music. Artmosphere Bistro serves a unique menu till late with musicians performing nightly. Genuine Cajun cooking can be found at Guidry’s Oyster Reef, Mulate’s, Café Vermilion and many more authentic eateries scattered around Layfayette. McGee’s Landing is a good ole’ Cajun café and bar with live music, and is also the launching point for scenic Atchafalaya Basin Swamp boat tours.
Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT) is situated two miles (3 km) southeast of Lafayette with easy access by bus or taxi into the city. Car hire is a popular way to explore the city’s attractions and there are plenty of car parking facilities available day and night. Lafayette is developing its bike lanes and cycling is an enjoyable way to explore the characterful streets and get a feeling for this thriving, exciting and memorable city.