Founded in 1735, Ste. Genevieve is the oldest permanent European settlement in the State of Missouri.

French Colonial Territory

The St. Louis region has an intriguing history. Begin your exploration of the French Colonial Territory in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, approximately an hour south of the city.

Named after the patron saint of Paris, the village was founded in 1735 as the first permanent European settlement in what was the Louisiana Territory.

Visit the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center, which is the central hub for information about the town and Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, and then head to the Centre for French Colonial Life, which offers an overview of Ste. Genevieve’s French Colonial roots with temporary and long-term exhibits.

We also recommend taking a tour of historic homes in the area, including the Louis Bolduc House (1770) and the Jacques Guibourd Historic House (1806).

During your journey, stop for a bite to eat, do some shopping at local stores and swing by nearby wineries to taste Missouri wines before crossing the old Mississippi River channel to Kaskaskia Island, where the Liberty Bell of the West is preserved.

On the Illinois side of the river, visit the archives of the Randolph County Museum in Chester, where French Colonial records are kept, and the remains of Fort Kaskaskia, built high above the river during the French and Indian War.

Other sites include the Pierre Menard Home State Historic Site in Ellis Grove, the restored Fort de Chartres State Historic Site in Prairie du Rocher and the Cahokia Courthouse, Jarrot Mansion State Historic Site and Church of the Holy Family in Cahokia.