Maybe you’ve been to France, and would love to go again. Or maybe a trip to Pari is on your bucket list. Good news! You can take a mini trip to the city of love the weekend of Aug. 12—and you don’t even need airline tickets.

Photo courtesy of Ste. Genevieve

By Peg Cameron Gill

As the first European settlement in Missouri, the French Colonial setting of Ste. Genevieve provides a perfect setting for the annual Jour de Fête celebration, this year August 12–13.

The Village of Ste. Genevieve was settled by French Canadians around 1735 on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The Village has been welcoming travelers, traders, and artists for more than 275 years. 

You can join in the fun and shop for treasures at the annual Jour de Fête arts and crafts festival the weekend of August 12–13. With over 200 arts and crafts booths—plus hands-on exhibits and special attractions—Ste. Genevieve’s annual Jour de Fête has been described as one of “the premier arts and crafts fairs in the Midwest” and a weekend you don’t want to miss!

Jour de Fête is held each year on the second full weekend in August in the historic downtown of Ste. Genevieve. The 2023 Festival hours are 10 AM to 6 PM Saturday and 9 AM to 4 PM Sunday. 

Both days will offer events at different locations—easily accessed by shuttle bus—along with an arts and crafts show and food and beverage stands downtown, and live music in Lion Club Park.

Saturday will feature a 5K run, opening ceremonies, an impressive arts and crafts fest, musical entertainment, and more. Sunday will bring more music, the same exhibits of arts and crafts galore to explore, an 11 AM fried chicken dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall, and more.

Photo courtesy of Ste. Genevieve

History is just the beginning in Ste. Geneviève’s National Registered Historic District. It offers visitors an unparalleled glimpse into its colonial past and more.

The “Ste” in Ste. Genevieve is the abbreviated form of sainte because the town is named after a French female saint. Saint Genevieve lived around 400 AD and was beloved by the French. She is known as the “Patron saint of Paris,” as it’s said she saved the city from Attila the Hun. 

The Church of St Genevieve has a large statue of her above the front doors, a side altar dedicated to her, and a famous painting “The vows of Saint Genevieve” which it’s said was given to the parish by King Louie XV.

The town is home to several historic homes and buildings, some on the National Register of Historic Places (NPS). They include: Beauvais-Amoureux House built around 1792 by Jean-Baptiste St. Gemme Beauvais, the Bolduc & LeMeilleur Houses, the Felix Vallé House State Historic Site, and the Green Tree Tavern, the oldest verified vertical log building in Ste. Geneviève, officially dated to 1790 by dendrochronology studies.

So polish up your parlez vous and plan on a fun, French fete!

Read more about historic Ste. Genevieve in this Missouri Life article.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.