One facet of Louisiana that makes it such an appealing visitor destination is its deep and colorful history. European explorers found their way to the region and inhabited the area very early relative to settlement of much of the rest of the continent. As a result, some communities in Louisiana are among the oldest in the United States. Before those explorers arrived, of course, people we now know as Native Americans populated the region. Reaching still farther back in time, ancient peoples left their mark on the area thousands of years ago. The state of Louisiana offers many ways to explore the region’s rich history, in hundreds of museums, historic structures, landmarks, artifacts and works of art. The careful preservation and restoration of these sites and artifacts has created many rare opportunities for visitors to experience Louisiana’s history and gain insights into the diverse cultures that continue to influence the state today.
A tradition of great oyster bars runs deep in the history of Abbeville thanks to the first 19th century oystermen who used the Vermillion River flowing through town as an avenue to sell their fresh harvest. Abbeville remains a destination for oyster lovers who satisfy their cravings at a cluster of modern mollusk emporiums. The city's French heritage runs deeper still, beginning with its founder, the Catholic missionary Père Antoine Désiré Mégret, who in 1843 named Abbeville for his hometown in France. He modeled the town's original plan after a typical French village, and today Magdalen Square gives Abbeville a picturesque downtown center with its gazebo, fountain and the historic St. Mary Magdalen Church. Abbeville is home to several annual festivals, including the Giant Omelette Festival each November when cooks prepare a 5,000-egg specimen outdoors. Downtown offers shopping, art galleries, museums and history tours, while birding trails and golf beckon nearby.