During the first half of the 18th century, French culture flourished in Canada and south along the Mississippi
Valley. Small farms and towns dotted the landscape peopled by the sturdy fu loving "habitants." This "Belle Femme"
about to set out on a shopping trip is typical of the ladies of New France. She wears a ruffled chemise of fine linen and
two wool petticoats - one of which she lifts to reach one of her set of pockets. She wears a Chardin jacket for both
its warmth and good looks. her apron is of white linen, as is the French Belle Femme house cap whose long
lappets frame her face. Her husband may grimace at prices, but she brings a smile to his face.
A habitant was often both a farmer and craftsman, a trader and a member of the local parish militia. Although he
usually wore heavy work clothes, the habitant enjoyed the finer things. Here he wears buckle shoes, woolen hose, and
woolen Knee Breeches with a French Fly. His cotton batiste Gentlemen's Shirt is closed at the neck with a
velvet neck stock and his woolen vest is cut in the longer style of the first half of the century. If he were to
accompany his wife to market he would don a heavy wool justacorps or a buckskin coat.