St. Martinville, along winding Bayou Teche, is the heart of Evangeline country. It was founded in 1761 and became a refuge for Acadians expelled from Nova Scotia as well as royalists who escaped the guillotine during the French Revolution. Known as Petit Paris, this little town was once the scene of lavish balls and operas, and you can still roam through the original old opera house on the central square. St. Martinville is tucked away from the state's major highways and misses much of the tourist traffic. It's a tranquil and historically interesting stop, although neighboring towns are better for dining and nightlife. The St. Martinville Tourist Information Center is across the street from the Acadian Memorial and African American Museum.
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