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  • Wildlife watching on the Creole Nature Trail near Lake Charles, Louisiana
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    Lake Charles, Louisiana: Cultural Discoveries in Creole Country

  • Kayaking excursion at Cane Creek State Park in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
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    Pine Bluff, Arkansas: Natural Discoveries and Country Music History

  • Historic Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
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    Hot Springs, Arkansas: Historic Bathhouses and Mountain Scenery

  • An autumn day at South Arkansas Arboretum State Park in El Dorado, Arkansas
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    El Dorado, Arkansas: Hidden Gem for Music and Art

  • A variety of wines to try at Landry Vineyards in West Monroe, Louisiana
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    West Monroe, Louisiana: Historic Town with a Pop Culture Twist

  • The ornate décor of the Hotel Bentley in Alexandria, Louisiana
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    Alexandria, Louisiana: Rich History and Creative Endeavors

Vue depuis le sommet de la Hot Springs Mountain Tower en Arkansas
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Petites villes et routes de campagne en Louisiane et en Arkansas

Par Zaida Rios

  • Distance:
    1.691,00
  • Durée recommandée:
    1 à 2 semaines

Vous rêvez de parcourir les routes de l’arrière-pays, en sillonnant des quartiers historiques et en goûtant aux divines saveurs du Sud ? Alors prenez la route et venez découvrir la Louisiane et l’Arkansas.

Quand vous êtes-vous perdu pour la dernière fois ? Perdu au milieu des loisirs. Perdu au cœur de la culture. Perdu au milieu de la nature. Vous vous perdrez certainement dans le bons sens du terme lorsque vous embarquerez pour ce voyage qui traverse les coquettes villes de Louisiane et d’Arkansas. Découvrez le King Cake, délassez-vous dans les sources chaudes, traversez des ponts suspendus et savourez les délicieux sandwichs po’ boys à la crevette. Atterrissez à l’aéroport intercontinental George Bush (IAH) de Houston, au Texas, louez une voiture et conduisez deux heures et demie jusqu’à Lake Charles, en Louisiane, pour le début de votre aventure.

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Wildlife watching on the Creole Nature Trail near Lake Charles, Louisiana
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Lake Charles, Louisiana: Cultural Discoveries in Creole Country

Lake Charles is many things. One thing it is not is hurried. Kick back and take your time relishing all the sights. Start on the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, which passes through marshland wilderness and Gulf of Mexico beaches in Southwest Louisiana. This area is known as Louisiana’s Outback, where you’re likely to spy alligators, marine life and some of more than 400 species of birds. Back in town, explore quaint streets lined with stately homes built by resourceful local carpenters in the Charpentier Historic District. Download the Charpentier Historic District Map app for an architectural tour that doubles as a history lesson. Notice the thoughtful details that give these abodes their signature Lake Charles-style from gables to turrets to wrap-around porches made for entertaining. Lake Charles folk adore a good party, and what’s a better celebration than Mardi Gras? Stop in the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu; if you can’t make the annual Mardi Gras celebration, you can at least get a taste of it. The museum is like an ornate jewelry box filled with the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Wander from room to room exploring extravagant costumes, clever trinkets and a room devoted solely to the history of king cake, a colorful and traditional Louisiana dessert. Before you head north to Arkansas, pick a charming bed and breakfast or casino resort to stay in for the night. Lake Charles has plenty of options.

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525 km
6 heures en voiture
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Kayaking excursion at Cane Creek State Park in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
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Pine Bluff, Arkansas: Natural Discoveries and Country Music History

Travel north along forested roads and through a series of tiny towns before you arrive in bucolic Pine Bluff. It’s ideally located for exploring the Arkansas River and Bayou Bartholomew, the world’s longest bayou. For a glimpse of the native species of the Arkansas Delta, check out the Delta Rivers Nature Center, which features hiking trails and an aquarium fashioned after an oxbow lake, where you can watch turtles, snakes, alligators and more. Venture downtown to spot more than a dozen murals depicting the town’s storied history. Next, make your way to the Arkansas Railroad Museum. Jump aboard a caboose, passenger car and a train at one of the state’s largest locomotive exhibits at this free and interactive museum. Add the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame (located in the Pine Bluff Convention Center) to your list of must-sees, where a life-size animatronic statue of Johnny Cash, a country music legend and Arkansas native, greets you. This tiny museum is packed with cool exhibits featuring memorabilia and costumes from Arkansas’ greatest country music stars. Get outdoors at Cane Creek State Park; bike, hike or walk through a cool trail system linked by three suspension bridges. The park also offers guided bird tours. Before you get back on the road, grab lunch or a sweet treat at Lybrand’s Bakery, a local institution since 1946, serving scrumptious baked goods and savory entrees like quiche and specialty sandwiches.

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115 km
1,5 heure en voiture
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Historic Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
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Hot Springs, Arkansas: Historic Bathhouses and Mountain Scenery

Established in 1832, this quaint mountain town features Hot Springs National Park, one of the USA’s most surprising urban national parks. Thermal hot springs have been luring visitors to this area for decades, and it continues to flourish with activity at eight historic bathhouses along Bathhouse Row. You can soak in thermal pools at Quapaw Baths and Spa or tour Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center and Museum to learn about the geological origins of these bubbling springs. After a therapeutic bath, venture on an invigorating hike up the loop trail to Hot Springs Mountain. Climb the Hot Springs Mountain Tower to ponder the beauty of the verdant Ouachita Mountains. Back on Bathhouse Row, enjoy more shopping, people watching and exploring. Much to the public’s delight, the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery, a classic revival bathhouse, also houses a brewery and distillery. Take advantage of solid pub grub to accompany your beverage of choice. Lodging in town is versatile – everything from camp sites at Gulpha Gorge to the lovely and historic 1890 Williams House Inn – so make sure to stay a night or two.

186 km
2,25 heures en voiture
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An autumn day at South Arkansas Arboretum State Park in El Dorado, Arkansas
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El Dorado, Arkansas: Hidden Gem for Music and Art

Just over two hours south of Hot Springs, venture to El Dorado, home to Musicfest El Dorado, a two-day concert event in September that’s putting this town on music lovers’ radar. Performers include country stars like Brad Paisley and Hunter Hayes and Motown crooners like legendary Smokey Robinson. This small town boasts a thriving arts and music scene, and it just takes a visit to the Murphy Arts District to see why. Swing by cool art galleries and music halls, that lead you to the amphitheater, a stellar music hub known for both regional and national acts. Drop by the Griffin Restaurant, a modern farm-to-table restaurant, for some sustenance. It isn’t every day you can try Mr. Lawrence’s Hushpuppies drizzled with Arkansas honey and sea salt. But visit on a Thursday, and you’ll be swaying and tapping your toes to live music. Stay in the heart of the fun downtown at Union Square Guest Quarters, a chic but laid-back bed & breakfast. Before you leave town, plan to spend some time at South Arkansas Arboretum State Park. Stroll paths lined with beautyberry bushes and beech and poplar trees on five serene hectares. Autumn here explodes with fall colors, while winter surprises with camellia blooms. It’s a gorgeous retreat where you can take some time to reflect on your trip so far.

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103 km
1,5 heure en voiture
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A variety of wines to try at Landry Vineyards in West Monroe, Louisiana
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West Monroe, Louisiana: Historic Town with a Pop Culture Twist

Drive southbound back across the border into Louisiana to West Monroe, where you’ll explore what’s become known as duck country along the Ouachita River. Across the river from sister city Monroe, this town made famous in the reality show Duck Dynasty (following a quirky family that owns a business manufacturing wooden duck decoys) is enjoying its newfound notoriety. Duck Dynasty family matriarch and expert baker Miss Kay has teamed up with her granddaughter to create Miss Kay’s Sweets & Eats, located in Antique Alley. Hard to resist cowboy cookies (a blend of oatmeal, chocolate chips and coconut), gooey sweet cinnamon rolls and pralines are top sellers. Discover more of the Cotton Port Historic District on the riverfront in downtown West Monroe. Check out cute kids’ clothes at The Mother Hen or pick up authentic Louisiana hot sauces and cool souvenirs at The Rustique Gator. For a taste of Louisiana wine, head to Landry Vineyards, located about 15 minutes from the historic district in West Monroe’s hill country. This pretty, family-owned winery is the place to be for tastings, tours and its ongoing concert series. Make sure to head home with a souvenir, perhaps a bottle of Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois Dry, a collaboration between Jay Ducote, a Food Network Star, and Jeff Landry, the vineyard owner.

158 km
1,75 heure en voiture
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The ornate décor of the Hotel Bentley in Alexandria, Louisiana
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Alexandria, Louisiana: Rich History and Creative Endeavors

Less than two hours southbound will land you in Alexandria, an especially charming town that makes an ideal last stop of your trip. Stay at the Hotel Bentley, a historic and elegant property right in the heart of Alexandria. After studying the World War II history exhibit in the lobby, head to The Mirror Lounge, where you can sip fancy cocktails or sidle up to the bar for a cold beer. For arts and culture, wander over to the River Oaks Square Arts Center, situated along the scenic Red River. This artist enclave features three galleries, 25 studios, a ceramics studio and an Arts Academy. Sign up for a class or visit the center for a tour to observe artists creating in all mediums from sculpture to watercolor. When hunger strikes, take a short drive to Pamela’s Bayou in a Bowl, a small, unassuming restaurant packed with big flavor. A simple menu offers up inviting favorites like red beans & rice, homey baked chicken and grilled shrimp po’boy sandwiches. Up for a bit of history? Jump on the Northup Trail Byway outlining the significant locations that featured prominently in the life of Edwin Epps Northup, the subject of the famous slave narrative and the movie entitled, 12 Years a Slave. It’s an immersive history lesson you won’t forget as you make your way back to Houston for your flight home.

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