Abbeville, the seat of Vermilion Parish, is situated in Vermilion Bayou, 65 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. A French priest named Father A. D. Megret bought land at this site in 1843 and laid the plans for Abbeville. It was settled by Acadians, descendants of settlers who had been forced out of Canada by the British. They created a town with the design of a French village, centered around Magdalen Square. Saint Mary Magdalen Catholic Church faces the square, a successor to the first church built in 1845. Abbeville was incorporated in 1850. The Vermilion Historical Society maintains the Alliance Museum, dedicated to the history of Vermilion Parish. Steen's Cane Syrup Mill on Main Street has been a family tradition in Abbeville since 1910. The historic Vermilion parish courthouse is another landmark. The Acadian Museum in Erath, seven miles east of Vermilion, details the history of the Acadians, now generally known as Cajuns. Abbeville has as campus of Louisiana Technical College. The closest regular community college is South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette, twelve miles away.