Soufrière, the oldest town in Saint Lucia and the island's historic French colonial capital, was founded by the French in 1746 and named for its proximity to the volcano of the same name. The wharf is the center of activity in this sleepy town (population, about 9,000), particularly when a ship anchors in pretty Soufrière Bay. French colonial influences are evident in the second-story verandas, gingerbread trim, and other appointments of the wooden buildings that surround the market square. The market building itself is decorated with colorful murals.
The site of much of Saint Lucia's renowned natural beauty, Soufrière is also the destination of most sightseeing trips. This is where you can get up close to the landmark Pitons and visit the "drive-in" volcano, botanical gardens, working plantations, waterfalls, and countless other examples of the natural beauty for which Saint Lucia is deservedly famous.