Ste. Genvieve, MO
While 1735 is celebrated as Ste. Genevieve's birth date, the village of Ste. Genevieve was established somewhere between 1722 and 1749. The first permanent European settlement in what now is the state of Missouri, the community was established as a trading outpost and was later settled by lead miners, farmers and fur traders. Before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the dominant architecture was French Creole with wooden homes built in several styles. Most of these homes feature galeries, or porches, surrounding the homes. These homes were gradually replaced by brick buildings as the American influence on the city took hold. Most of the earlier French structures are gone, but Ste. Genevieve holds the distinction of the having the largest concentration of French Colonial buildings in the country. Three of these buildings - the Amoureux, the Bolduc, and the Guibourd-Valle houses - are open to the public. The Felix Valle Home is open to the public and demonstrates the effect of the American influence.
Ste. Genevieve’s newest trade is tourism and the town is the home to a large variety of antique and specialty shops. A number of Bed & Breakfasts and hotels provide exceptional lodging for those planning an extended stay. Many of these establishments are located in the National Historic Landmark District. There are many exceptional restaurants in Ste. Genevieve with choices ranging from fine dining to lighter fare.
Just north of town is the Ste.Genevieve-Modoc Ferry which the locals like to call "The French Connection." This ferry, two miles north of the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center on Main Street, takes vehicles and passengers across the Mississippi River to Randolph County, Illinois where visitors can experience more of French Colonial life at the Pierre Menard Home, Fort Kaskaskia, and Fort de Chartres. Hawn State Park and Pickle Springs Natural Area are located west of town and provide its visitors with unique outdoor experiences.
There are special events held throughout the year and the historic downtown area is the focus of many of these events. The French Heritage Festival in June and Jour de Fête, held every August with French colonial activities and many participating artisans and the French are just two of the events held in Ste. Genevieve that appeal to visitors from all over.