Holiday Christmas Festival

First full weekend in December in historic downtown Ste. Geneviève.

Admission: Free

Call us at 573-883-7097

The 39th annual Ste. Genevieve Holiday Christmas Festival will be Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd – but it’s much more than just your typical holiday weekend event. It boasts one of the finest Christmas celebrations in all of Missouri, but it’s also lauded as one of the top two Christmas celebrations in the entire Midwest according to AAA magazine. With a setting amidst historic houses, churches, art galleries, museums and a National Park this world-class event includes more than a dozen free performances by famed local and regional musicians, a magician, free crafts for children and adults, historical dancers, historical lectures, an Art Guild show, elegant receptions at various historic sites, a tree-trimming and a live nativity. Also back this year is Le Reveillon, a French Christmas celebrating food, customs and decorations of an early 1800’s Christmas Eve. According to Annette Rolfe, the Executive Director of the event, the weekend will cover more than 700 years of holiday-themed music from Renaissance to 21st Century jazz. Performances include a chamber choir, Madrigal singers, historical French singers, French café singers, a string quartet, a classical guitar, a lute, acoustic guitars, contemporary Latino jazz band, violins, traditional country, alternative country, pop, Celtic harpists, a steel drum band, a classical organist, and a magnificent wind ensemble. And the parade, which begins at 11 AM on Saturday, is one of the largest in the State, with beauty queens, classic cars, marching bands, the Shriners, floats – even Santa himself! “The event gets better every year as we strive to outdo the year before and this year’s lineup is the best yet” said Rolfe. “Everyone who attends will be delighted!” And, like prior years, there will also be FREE photos with Santa and FREE hotdogs for children 12 and under. Don’t miss the biggest holiday event of the season, in the charming town of Ste. Genevieve.

Top Christmas Towns in the Midwest

Sassafras Cabin with holiday decorations, Ste. Genevieve, MO

AAA Magazine ranked the top Christmas towns in the Midwest.  Ste. Genevieve came in at #2!

Party like its 1745 in the old French village of Ste. Geneviève where the new blends with old traditions during the Holiday Christmas Festival on the first full weekend in December. On Saturday, December 4, festivities kick off with a parade led by Santa, followed by shopping opportunities and open houses honoring French Christmas traditions. On Saturday afternoon, the Felix Vallé House State Historic Site, which dates to 1818, re-creates Le Réveillon—a traditional feast usually served after midnight Christmas Mass that includes 13 desserts honoring Jesus and his disciples.

Then return to Ste. Geneviève on December 31 for La Guignolée, a French New Year’s Eve tradition. Follow costumed La Guignolèe revelers as they march to select sites in town and sing a beggar’s song for drinks and favors. The party continues at their final stop, the Centre for French Colonial Life, and participants welcome the New Year.

Ste. Genevieve Voted #2: Best Small Town Cultural Scene

“Saving St. Louis” Exhibit Opens At Centre For French Colonial Life

Things to Do in Ste. Genevieve - CFCL war exhibit Tower

French Colonial America (FCA) unveils “Saving St. Louis,” an exhibit explaining the role of the 60 militiamen who traveled upstream and were instrumental in thwarting the British attack on May 26, 1780. The exhibit opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at the Centre for French Colonial Life.

Militia and living history specialists will be on-site for the opening and every Saturday throughout the summer.

The “Saving St. Louis” exhibit features original and reproduction weapons and equipment used in this region by both French and Native American peoples during the late 18th century.

To help visualize the story, professional photographer Ronald Rayfield recreated scenes and militia reenact the 60 Ste. Geneviève fighters at the battle.

FCA Executive Director Geoff Giglierano said, “it may come as a revelation to many visitors, even those who are familiar with the American Revolution, that the story of the Battle of St. Louis and the role played in it by citizen-soldiers from Ste. Geneviève is not as commonly known as it deserves to be.”

The Centre for French Colonial Life is the museum building and entry point for FCA’s historic campus. The campus also offers hourly guided tours of the historic Louis Bolduc House (circa 1788) and Bolduc-LeMeilleur House (circa 1820) and grounds as well as the “Hands-on History” program at the Beauvais-Linden House (circa 1820).

The campus is owned by French Colonial America, a recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit.

May 8 activities also include “Tunes, Tomahawks & Tours,” with live music, tomahawk-throwing, and activities at the Linden House from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $3 cash only.

The Centre for French Colonial Life will be open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until further notice.

Admission for the exhibit is $5 per adult, $3 for children, and free to military members with an ID. The Centre for French Colonial Life is located at 198 Market Street in Ste. Geneviève, Missouri. Ample free parking is available behind the facility.

Follow The Centre for French Colonial Life & the Bolduc House’s Facebook page for further information and updates.

Plein Air Show and Sale


Following the European tradition of capturing the atmosphere of the outdoors, the region’s finest plein air painters are invited to join the realms of the famous regionalist artists of the 1930s by painting outdoors in the scenic Sainte Genevieve area. Contemporary painters will find the same French colonial buildings, Victorian commercial structures, and extensive gardens in the downtown historic district that intrigued the Art Colony artists some 80 years ago.


Chocolate Walk 2023

chocolate walk

February 4, 2023

Do you love eating chocolate and shopping? Then this event is for you! Join in the delicious fun on the first Saturday in February in historic downtown Ste. Geneviève. With the purchase of a ticket, you will be able to sample a yummy chocolate treat at each participating shop while you explore the unique items for sale! Only 300 tickets are available, and they always sell out in advance.

To purchase tickets go to: .

This event is sponsored by Downtown Ste. Geneviève.

With Visit To Ste. Genevieve, Kovalski Adds Another National Park To His List


Four years ago this month, Dr. Paul Kovalski completed a 30-year journey to visit all the national parks. The dentist from Marlboro, New Jersey saved for last a park in his home state — Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. It was his 413th different national park.

Dr. Paul Kovalski posed with Mickey Koetting on the porch of the Guibourd-Valle House before Koetting led a tour of the 1806 home, one of the historic structures open for touring in Ste. Genevieve.

The National Park Service keeps adding parks, however, and Kovalski keeps traveling.

On Thursday, December 17, he visited Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, the second-newest unit in the National Park Service system — No. 422. (The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument was established as the 423rd unit on December 10.)

Kovalski, who also volunteers many hours per year at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, brought to Ste.Genevieve some items from that park as well as other national parks he has visited. While he rates Glacier National Park as tops on his list, he thought the story of St. Croix Island, founded in 1604 as one of the first settlements of New France, would be of interest to Ste. Genevieve history buffs.

While in Ste. Genevieve, Kovalski toured the Guibourd-Valle House operated by the Foundation for Restoration. He also visited the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center; the National Park Service headquarters at the Jean-Baptiste Valle House; and the Green Tree Tavern, which is owned by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources but has been legislatively approved for transfer to the National Park Service.

Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park was established on October 30, 2020. It includes the Jean-Baptiste Valle House on South Main Street and the Bauvais-Amoureux House on St. Mary’s Road. The National Park Service is working with the city of Ste. Genevieve to jointly operate the Welcome Center, which also has been approved for transfer to the National Park Service.

Since establishment, the park has attracted visitors interested in having their National Park Service passport books stamped. Also among the visitors so far is David Kroese, an author who chronicled his visits to all the national parks in his book, The Centennial: A Journey through America’s National Parks System.

Reaching Halfway Point Between Eclipses

A photo of the 2017 solar eclipse taken in Downtown Ste. Genevieve.

Monday, December 14, 2021 marks 1,211 days since the Great American Eclipse of 2017, and 1,211 days to the next total solar eclipse for Ste. Geneviève — on April 8, 2024.

A solar eclipse did take place on Monday, December 14, 2021 and it was viewable in Argentina and Chile in South America.

A photo of the 2017 solar eclipse taken
in downtown Ste. Geneviève.

Ste. Geneviève was included in the path of totality on August 21, 2017 — the first time that was the case since perhaps the 1400s.

The St. Louis area had not previously been on the centerline for a total solar eclipse since 1442, and St. Louis won’t be on the centerline for the 2024 eclipse.

The 2024 centerline will cross the United States from Texas to the northeast. The north edge of the centerline will not extend as far up as Festus but it will include Ste. Geneviève County.

As the northern end of the centerline, Ste. Geneviève will have about 2 minutes of totality; Cape Girardeau will have about 4 minutes as the midpoint of the centerline.

Ste. Geneviève had more than 2 1/2 minutes of totality in 2017 by being at the midpoint of the centerline and near the point of longest duration in Southern Illinois.

In 2017, Ste. Geneviève hosted a one-day musical festival leading into the eclipse event, and a viewing event took place at the Ste. Geneviève County Community Center.

For more information on the 2024 eclipse, click here.

Forbes magazine had a story about the halfway as well.

Ste. Geneviève Militia Encampment

Encampment 2019 file

Saturday, October 7, 2023

History comes alive in Ste. Geneviève with the annual Encampment, an 18th-century re-enactment event.

The Encampment is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Center for French Colonial Life.

The living history camp will include children’s games, colonial skills demonstrations and colonial crafts and trades such as gun building, chair seat weaving, spinning, leatherwork, and more.

The event is free and is children- and family-friendly.

The Encampment is sponsored by the Ste. Geneviève Militia, Inc, a member of Seven Years’ War, Inc., with support provided by the Ste. Geneviève County Community Foundation and the Ste. Geneviève Welcome Center.

For information, contact Doug Nickelson at [email protected].

Octane Tour Impressed With Drive Through Ste. Genevieve

octane tour

The Daily Journal published a story about the Octane Tour’s visit to Southeast Missouri during the weekend of September 11 to September 13, 2020.

The tour attracts dozens of car enthusiasts in the St. Louis area for weekend getaway drives. This year’s drive featured Ste. Geneviève County and its wine country.

Several classic cars stopped in Ste. Genevieve on Friday, September 11, and parked at downtown parking lots.

Organizer Matt Burcham was impressed with Ste. Geneviève, telling the Daily Journal:

“The response that the Ste. Geneviève businesses had with us coming into town was crazy. Everybody had handmade signs welcoming the Octane Tour.

“Some people had even made up some dash plaques and handed them out to us and other people met us, and it was really cool. All these people were taking pictures of these signs and putting them on Facebook. It was nice to see the area wanted us here. We want to try and patronize these places as we can.”

Most Beautiful Town, Editor’s Choice


Established in the 1740s, Ste. Geneviève was the first European settlement in Missouri, and much of its historic charm and ambiance is due to the remarkable preservation of the original French colonial settlement. Its narrow streets and fenced gardens surround dome of the most significant 18th century architecture in the nation.

Night Of The Werewolf (Oct)


The annual Night of the Werewolf, from 7 to 9 p.m., provides a rare opportunity for night activities on the campus of French Colonial America.

Loup Garou (werewolves) have been spotted throughout the village at night!  Enjoy lantern led historic house tours, werewolf stories & folklore around the fire, s’mores & cider, children’s games, and patrol with the militia as they capture and dispatch werewolves

Call about ticket availability at 573-883-3105.