* Getting there: You can fly into New Orleans, as we did, and rent a car. From LAX, nonstop service is offered on United and Southwest. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $178. You can also fly into Lafayette; connecting service from LAX is available on Continental, Delta, American and Northwest. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $218.
* Where to stay: Bois des Chnes B&B, 338 N. Sterling St., Lafayette, LA 70501; tel./fax (337) 233-7816, http://members.aol.com/boisdchene/bois.htm. Suites are $100-$150. Plantation and carriage house with huge suites; customized swamp tours offered.
The Caldwell B&B, 105 E. Vermilion St., Abbeville, LA 70510; (337) 892-7090, fax (337) 892-0766, http://www.thecaldwell.com. Rooms are $160-$300. Elegant restored mansion with great service.
* Where to eat: B&C Cajun Restaurant, 2155 Highway 18, (225) 265-8356, Vacherie. A no-frills authentic Cajun eatery. Entrees $8.50-$19.95. Specialties include alligator and seafood.
The Grapevine Cafe, 211 Railroad Ave., Donaldsonville, (225) 473-8463. Gourmet Cajun food in a restaurant/art gallery setting. Signature dishes are barbecue shrimp and roast duck. Lunch entrees $8.95-$19.95; dinner entrees $11.95-$20.95.
Prejean's, 3480 I-49 North, Lafayette; (337) 896-3247, http://www.prejeans.com. A casual place. Live Cajun music nightly. Entrees $12.95-$26.95. Bestsellers are eggplant pirogue Louis, seafood, wild game.
Randol's Restaurant and dance hall, 2320 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette; (337) 981-7080 or (800) YO-CAJUN (962-2586), http://www.randols.com. Entrees $8.95-$18.95. Cooking classes with Mama Redell are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, by appointment; $15 per person or $25 per couple. Specialties: rib eye with crawfish etouffee, crab cakes, seafood.
Mulate's Cajun Restaurant and dance hall, 325 Mills Ave., Breaux Bridge; (337) 332-4648 or (800) 42CAJUN (422-2586). House specialties are grilled catfish with shrimp etouffee, seafood, duck, frogs' legs. Entrees $11.50-$16.95.
* For more information: Locals praise "Cajun Country Guide," by Macon Fry and Julie Posner (Pelican Publishing, 1998).
St. Martinville Tourist Information Center, P.O. Box 379; St. Martinville, LA 70582; (337) 394-2233, fax (337) 394-2244, http://www.louisianatravel.com/st_martinville.
For information on Erath and Abbeville, contact the Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission, P.O. Box 1106, Abbeville, LA 70511; (337) 898-6600, http://www.vermilion.org.
Louisiana Office of Tourism, Attn: Inquiry Department, P.O. Box 94291, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9291; (800) 99-GUMBO (994-8626) or (225) 342-8119, fax (225) 342-8390, http://www.louisianatravel.com.