While tourists may take a brief tour of St Lucia’s former French capital Soufrière before being herded to the next sight, those who own their own property in St Lucia will have the luxury of time. Time in which to really explore, get to know and feel at home in this charming French-Caribbean town.The History of SoufrièreLying in the shadow of St Lucia’s stunning twin volcanic spires, The Pitons, on the island’s tranquil southwest coast, Soufrière is the oldest town in St Lucia. It was here in 1746 that the French founded the island’s capital and named it after the volcano it lies beside.But the town’s history can be traced even further back through the stories of the island’s first settlers, the Arawaks and the Kalinagos. The Arawaks believed The Pitons were gods – Petit Piton the god of food and fertility and Gros Piton the god of fire, thunder and rain – and it was to Soufrière they came to worship these deities. There is also evidence that the Kalinago used the site around Soufrière’s sulphur springs for religious ceremonies.When the British finally took control of the island more than 200 years ago they moved the capital to Castries, and Soufrière became the peaceful, sleepy, Caribbean island town it is today.French InfluenceEven though the French left the island more than two centuries ago, their influence is still evident in the architecture of the property in St Lucia, and nowhere is this more true than in the pretty, colonial buildings of Soufrière. The town’s charming wooden townhouses with their second-story verandas and decorative gingerbread trim make this a charming picturesque town to visit. And even though it is now fully independent, the French road names and even the Creole food, all hint at its previous French connection.Soufrière TodayThanks to its position on the unspoilt southwest of the island, and a population of only 9,000, Soufrière has remained an authentic Caribbean town, perfect for exploration for those with property in St Lucia who have more time on the island.Most of the activity in the town tends to centre around the bustling wharf as well as the town’s pretty, colonial market square and colourful market building.The PitonsOnce you’ve got to know the town, then it’s well worth exploring the local area with its stunning natural landscape.During the peak tourist season the beautiful volcano and its botanical gardens can be crowded so take advantage of owning your own property in St Lucia to visit after the crowds have gone.In the quieter season you’ll be able to really explore the stunning Diamond Botanical Gardens with its breath-taking Diamond Waterfall. Also known as St Lucia Botanical Gardens, The Diamond Gardens are the oldest on the island and home to some truly glorious indigenous flora and fauna.