Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, named after the patron saint of Paris, was founded by French Canadians around 1735, making it the oldest permanent European settlement in Missouri. Much of Ste. Geneviève’s charm is due to the exceptional preservation of the original colonial settlement
Still maintaining houses built by the French in the 18th century, Ste. Genevieve attracts tourists through many early French settlers’ homes. Beauvais-Amoureux Historic House, for example, was built in 1792 with a steeply-pointed roof, reminiscent of early French Canadian architecture. Other historic buildings are the Bolduc & LeMeilleur Houses built with vertical log structures, representing the colonial Americans' living conditions.
Having visited the historic housing sites at Ste. Geneviève’s National Registered Historic District, I found myself fully immersed in each room. The plentiful French early Empire furniture in every living quarter caught my attention instantly. At the Felix Vallé Historical House Site, a fully operating fresh garden was still cultivated in the original brick and frame outbuildings.
Sainte Genevieve Catholic Parish also depicts French influence on the previously French, Louisiana Purchase territory. Catholic church in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, is the first organized European church west of the Mississippi River. The interior is filled with original stained glass windows and paintings from the French colonial era.
Last but not least, the Louis Bolduc House Museum is a prime example of traditional French Colonial architecture. In 1792, Louis Bolduc, a successful merchant built a one-story house at the new village site. Still owned by the Bolduc family descendants until the 1940s, the Louis Bolduc House now turned into a museum for colonial French artifacts and furnished pieces.
If you visit the States, make sure to explore the French influence on towns like Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.
- Alex Lee, senior (12th grade) at Thomas Jefferson School in St. Louis, Missouri.-