Be captivated by the European-influenced culture in this historic community, which was Louisiana’s first French colony, on the scenic banks of the Cane River.
Spend a few days exploring the historic streets of beautiful Natchitoches to discover the rich melding of European, Southern and indigenous cultures that gives this place so much personality. Browse stores located in pretty French-style buildings, visit an array of fascinating historic sites and take plenty of photos of the scenic surroundings, both manmade and natural.
The name Natchitoches comes from the indigenous people who first settled this land. The French established a colony here in 1714, with French traders recorded in the area as far back as 1699. This makes Natchitoches the oldest such colony in the state. Wander the streets of the National Historic Landmark District, filled with interesting stores, and admire the gorgeous French façades that will make you feel like you are in Europe. Take a free guided walking tour of the area to learn about the way the indigenous and French influences have shaped this historic area.
Spend some peaceful hours walking along the beautiful Cane River, which runs through Natchitoches. See the Cane River Lake at its best from the lovely Beau Jardin Water Feature & Garden, which offers stunning views of this body of water. The banks of the river itself are scattered with former Creole plantations, some of which are now open to the public. Wander the lush grounds of the Oakland Plantation or the Magnolia Plantation Complex. Gain a somber insight into the past at the American Cemetery, one of the oldest graveyards in the whole of the South.
Natchitoches also has another prominent historic site: the Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile, which is the state’s oldest general store. Stroll down aisles jumbled with all kinds of odds and ends and imagine what this place would have been like back in 1863, when its doors first opened.
Drive to Natchitoches via Interstate 49, the major road that connects the town to a wide range of large cities. Come in the pleasantly cool fall and spring months to see the city at its very best.