The colonial town of St. Charles is located on the banks of the Missouri River, just 30 minutes west of Downtown St. Louis. The quaint community, founded in 1769, served as Missouri’s first state capital. Founded as Les Petites Cotes (The Little Hills) by French Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette, Saint Charles, MO grew into a thriving riverfront-trading center for a burgeoning America. Today, visitors enjoy walks along South Main Street where more than 150 restaurants, shops and cafés decorate this well-preserved historic district. The Frenchtown area, known for its antique shopping, is home to 58 historic Colonial French and German buildings. The First Missouri State Capitol building and the Shrine of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne also welcome visitors each year.