New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana. It is famous for its rich history, stunning French architecture, and colourful culture: it is the home of the legendary Mardi Gras, the birthplace of jazz, and one of the ten most visited cities in the United States.
New Orleans was founded in 1718 as a French colony. It was handed to the Spanish Empire in 1763 in the Treaty of Paris. The city came back under French control from 1801 until the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
Nineteenth Century New Orleans was a rich, flourishing city. It benefited greatly both from its position as a major port and from the large sugar and cotton plantations on its outskirts. The city had a remarkably diverse population, and was home to Americans, French, Creoles, Irish, Germans and Africans. This map shows New Orleans in 1817.
By 1840, New Orleans was one of the wealthiest and most populous cities in the United States. Louis, Lestat and Claudia would have lived there during one of the richest and most exciting periods in the city's history.
By the twentieth century, however, New Orleans had started to lose some of its vigour and growth. The last sixty years have seen the city suffer badly at the hands of a series of natural disasters. Hurricane Betsy caused a great deal of damage in 1965, and there was severe flooding in 1995. In 2005, the city was struck by the devastating Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,500 people and destroyed parts of the city.
New Orleans is now fighting hard to recover from this disaster. Tourism remains a key industry, and the city is regaining its position as a popular destination for visitors.
The city has played host to more than just Anne Rice's vampires. Poppy Z Brite's vampires are regular visitors to New Orleans. The city's role in works such as these has seen it become a popular destination for fans of vampires and horror, with events such as the Endless Night Vampire Ball drawing thousands.
The map below shows some of the key places mentioned in Interview with the Vampire.
A shows the Rue Royale, the home of Louis, Lestat and Claudia during their time in New Orleans.
B shows the St Louis Cemetery, where Louis's brother is buried. This is also the cemetery Claudia refers to on page 119 when she describes the Feast of All Saints.
C shows the famous Lafayette Cemetery.
D shows Jackson Square, just off Decatur Street, and F shows The Cabildo. Claudia and Louis pass these places on page 135 as she makes her decision to murder Lestat.
E Shows Conti Street, or the Rue Conti, where Louis encounters a potential victim but warns him to flee (page 138).
G shows the Rue Dumaine, the home of Lestat's musician friend.
To the North of the map is Lake Pontchartrain, mentioned on page 152 as Louis and Claudia dispose of Lestat's body.
Rice's rich knowledge of New Orleans brings this setting to life. Her vampires wander through streets she herself knows well, giving this part of the novel a particular credibility.
Paris is the capital of France, and sits on the banks of the River Seine. Occupying an area of approximately 34 square miles, it is home to around 11 million people, making it one of the most densely populated areas in Europe. It is also a very popular tourist destination and a leading cultural city, associated with the arts and fashion. It has retained this reputation for centuries, and today Parisians are known for their sense of style.
The city was the centre stage for the French Revolution, which is referred to fleetingly during Interview with the Vampire. It saw the overthrow of the French Monarchy, the rule of Napoleon, and the Storming of the Bastille.
Today, Paris is famous for the Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, and the city's beautiful wide streets and stunning neo-classical facades. These boulevards and avenues are the result of the extensive remodelling that took place in the mid-19th century, replacing the former narrow, winding streets.
The map below shows some of the key landmarks in Paris that appear within Interview with the Vampire.
A shows the Boulevard des Capucines, where Louis and Claudia live in the Hotel St Gabriel.
B shows Notre Dame Cathedral, which Louis mentions on page 223 as a place he visits whilst Claudia is out hunting.
C shows Montmartre, where Louis allows the drunk man to paint his portrait on page 278.
D shows the Louvre, a famous museum and art gallery, where Armand finds Louis following the burning of the Théatre des Vampires.
The interview takes place in a small room on Divisadero Street.