Lafayette (, French: [lafajɛt]) is a city in and the parish seat of Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, located along the Vermilion River in the southwestern part of the state. The city of Lafayette is the fourth-largest in the state, with a population of 126,185 according to 2019 U.S. Census estimates. It is the principal city of the Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, with a 2015 estimated population of 490,488. The larger trade area or Combined Statistical Area of Lafayette-Opelousas-Morgan City CSA was 627,146 in 2015. Its nickname is "The Hub City".
The Attakapas Native Americans inhabited this area at the time of the first European encounter. French colonists founded the first European settlement, Petit Manchac, a trading post along the Vermilion River. In the mid-to-late eighteenth century, numerous Acadian refugees settled in this area, after being expelled from Canada after Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War. They intermarried with other settlers, forming what became known as Cajun culture, which maintained use of the French language and adherence to the Roman Catholic Church.
Jean Mouton, an Acadian settler, donated land to the Catholic church for construction of a small Catholic chapel at this site.