Vivre à St. LouisIyna Bort Caruso
St. Louis, Missouri, sits along a 19-mile stretch of the Mississippi River. It was established as a French fur-trading post in the 18th century and later became a departure point for Westward expeditions, most famously that of Lewis and Clark in 1804. The Gateway Arch, the country’s tallest monument at 630 feet, celebrates that expansion and is the indelible symbol of the city.
After the Civil War, the city enjoyed a period of growth and prosperity, a time that saw the founding of the St. Louis Symphony, the country’s second oldest orchestra. Its star soared further when it hosted the 1904 World’s Fair, attended by some 20 million people and drawing world-wide attention.
The Saint Louis Art Museum was built for the exposition. Today it anchors the River City’s thriving cultural scene. A short list of attractions includes the Opera Theatre and a three-week outdoor Shakespeare Festival held each summer. It is also a sports city with one of the most storied baseball teams, the St. Louis Cardinals as well as the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League.
St. Louis has gone from a fur-trading village to a Fortune 500 headquarters stronghold. Bio-tech, healthcare, financial services and manufacturing drive the economy. Locals enjoy a relatively low cost of living for access to big-city amenities.
The city’s urban architecture reflects a number of historical influences including French-inspired. Among the most unique of residential styles is the historical “flounder house,” a narrow structure with a roof that slopes from one side wall to another, giving the appearance of a house cut in half.
The city has enclaves of Victorian-era mansions and townhouses from its Golden-Era and an emerging downtown loft district. Some of the wealthiest communities in the country ring the city. Ladue is a leafy suburb of elite estates, top schools and golf courses. Huntleigh is an entirely residential community of only 100 families and minimum two-acre zoning. It has a quiet, country feel though it sits in the heart of St. Louis County. Highly desirable Frontenac is known for its predominately French-inspired architecture. The seat of St. Louis County is Clayton. The city has a dynamic downtown although though some 80 percent is given over to residential use and green spaces. Clayton hosts the long-running Saint Louis Art Fair which attracts tens of thousands every September.