The Republic of Texas, as it was known from 1836 to 1845, was host to a diplomatic outpost representing the government of France. The French Legation was built in 1841 for Alphonse Dubois de Saligny, who was sent to the Republic of Texas by King Louis Philippe. Today it’s the oldest structure in Austin and an interesting museum.
To fully appreciate this unique footnote in Texas history, take one of the regularly scheduled guided tours of the French Legation Museum, which gives you access to the inside of the house as well as the surrounding grounds. Include a stop at the French Legation with your guided tour of important sights in Austin and the Hill Country, while you relax and take in the area’s history and natural beauty.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The French Legation is a must for history buffs.
- Docent-guided tours last approximately 40 minutes.
- There is an on-site gift shop.
- The house is accessible to wheelchairs though portions of the grounds are not wholly ADA-complaint.
How to Get There
The French Legation is located 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) east of the Texas Capitol in downtown Austin. Several Capital Metro buses stop nearby; the closest stop is at 7th Street and San Marcos.
When to Get There
The French Legation is open from 1pm to 5pm Tuesday through Sunday. If you’d like to expand on your visit, come on a second or fourth Sunday of the month, when you can partake in the French leisure sport of pétanque; equipment is provided and it’s free to play. Games are held at the Mueller Hangar, about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) north of the French Legation.
French chargé d’affaires Alphonse Dubois de Saligny is notorious for his Pig War in downtown Austin. During his brief tenure at the French Legation, he complained about troublesome pigs belonging to a neighboring hotel keeper. He and the hotelier quarreled mightily over the pigs until de Saligny, unsatisfied not to receive backing from the Texas government, took off for Louisiana, never to set foot in Texas again.