The city of Alexandria, located along the Red River, was originally home to a community supporting activities of the adjacent Spanish outpost of Post du Rapides. The area developed as an assemblage of traders and merchants in the agricultural lands bordering the mostly unsettled areas to the north, and providing a link from the south to the El Camino Real and then larger settlement of Natchitoches. Alexandria is a city in and the parish seat of Rapides Parish, Louisiana, United States. It lies on the south bank of the Red River in almost the exact geographic center of the state. It is the principal city of the Alexandria metropolitan area (population 153,922) which encompasses all of Rapides and Grant parishes. Its neighboring city is Pineville. In 2010, the population was 47,723, according to an official estimate by the College of Business Population Estimates Program at Louisiana Tech University.