In 1843, France established a consulate in Monterey, then the capital of Mexican Alta California, to attend to the needs of French immigrants (mainly merchants, farmers and trappers) in the region. This long, low adobe acquired its moniker because it was the home of J. A. Moerenhaut, who served as French Consul to Mexican California.
Today, the building serves as the Monterey Visitors Center, conveniently located beside Lake El Estero and several parks.