WELCOME TO ABBEVILLE
Formerly called La Chapelle, the land that was to become Abbeville was purchased by founding father Père Antoine Désiré Mégret, a Capuchin missionary, on July 25, 1843 for $900. Father Megret named the town after his home in France, Abbéville. Two people were living on the land at that time, Joseph LeBlanc and his wife Isabelle Broussard, whose former home Father Megret converted into the first Church. The original Church (then named in honor of St. Ann) burned in 1854 and St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church now stands at the same location.
Father Megret modeled his original plan for the village after a French Provincial village. In a map he made in 1846, the town was 38 to 40 acres (160,000 m2) in size. It was bounded on the north by St. Victor Boulevard, on the south by Lafayette Boulevard, on the east by “the Sisters of Charity,” and on the west by Bayou Vermilion. At this point in time, the town was called “Abbville”. It is unclear exactly when or why the transition to “Abbeville” occurred. There were two theories as to why this name was chosen. One is that it was a combination of “Abbe” for Abbé Mégret and “ville” for town – thus Abbé’s town. The other is that it was named for Abbeville in the Picardy Region of France, which some believe to have been the birthplace of Père Mégret. Some support for the second theory could be found in the fact that the town in France is pronounced “Abbville” by its denizens. However, in 1995, Fr. Jean Desobry discovered in the diocesan archives of Amiens the dossier of Fr. Antoine Jacques Désiré Mégret, who was born on May 23, 1797, at Abbeville dans la Somme and was to become the founder of Abbeville in Louisiana. He also found that on February 12, 1844, the pastor gave his Louisiana town the name of the place where he was born. The residents who settled the town were descendants of the Acadians from Nova Scotia who moved to the area around 1766 to 1775. It was incorporated in 1850.
At the center of downtown is Magdalen Square, which is accented by large oak trees, a fountain, and a gazebo. A statue in memory of Father Megret stands in the square. Opposite Magdalen Square stands the Vermilion Parish Courthouse.
From oyster bars to seafood patios to boudin and cracklins from the local meat market, Abbeville is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Stop in at one of our many restaurants to enjoy world-class authentic Cajun cuisine. A stroll through the historic streets of Abbeville reveals a glimpse of our culture and traditions through the artwork of famed American muralist Robert Dafford. A giant accordion on City Hall, an oyster boat on Black’s, Abbeville’s Giant Omelette, Daylilly Festival, and Cajun Cowboys on the Abbeville Cultural Alliance and Tourist Center. Take in the beauty of the 100-year-old St Mary Magdalen Church and the huge cans of Steen’s Cane Syrup next to the Mill. Visit the Depot Gift Shop to take home a book about our area’s history or a piece of local artwork. Shop for everything from Cajun and outdoor cooking essentials at our local hardware stores to stylish clothing and gifts at our boutique shops and local pharmacies. Take in a play at the Abbey Players Theatre or learn about blacksmithing at the Sam Guarino Blacksmith Shop Museum.
Local guided walking tours are available in French and English for groups of ten or more.
Abbeville Tourist Center: 337-898-6600
Come taste the good life!