‘Paris Texas is perhaps most well known to Europeans/Brits/People Not From Texas as being the title of a movie starring Harry Dean Stanton…’
That’s certainly the only thing I knew about it until we embarked on a Texas road trip and decided we needed to do some exploring. We headed out from our base in Dallas to spend some time in the city. This is our guide to the top 6 things to see and do in Paris Texas…
The Eiffel Tower
It’s perhaps no surprise, given the name of the city, that the good folks of Paris, Texas decided they *had* to have a tower. Therefore, a 65ft replica of the Parisian original sits on the outskirts of the town, next to the Red River Valley Memorial. I’m led to believe the city of Paris, Tennessee also has one.
‘However, to differentiate itself from the French original, this one has a massive stetson jauntily balanced on top, because Texas…’
The city used to be in competition with Paris, Tennessee to see who had the tallest tower. However, Las Vegas installed one year later and it’s 10 times the size of the ones in Texas and Tennessee. And that pretty much put that particular contest to bed, I guess. BREAKING: Las Vegas will NOT be outdone in the building of Very Large Things. Who knew?
Red River Valley Veterans Memorial
In a pretty plaza right next to the Eiffel Tower is Red River Valley Memorial. It’s a serene area, surrounded by well-tended gardens and large stone and marble plinths. These commemorate members of the American Forces who served during wars in Korea, Vietnam, Europe, and more recent conflicts in the Middle East.
It’s in place to honour all US forces, both those who have lost their lives and those who remain in active service. The memorial sits next to Love Civic Centre, where bikes can be hired to take you around town.
Valley of the Caddo Museum
The museum houses a collection of Native American items – specifically Caddo – who have been resident in East Texas for more than 500 years. The artefacts on display tell of the rich history and lives of the people. The Caddo is renowned for producing some of the best native pottery in the US and the museum is well worth checking out for some cultural history.
In the heart of downtown, there’s a pretty town square surrounded by cute boutiques and stores. To the North sits the Paris Community Theatre, which has been a main fixture of the square since 1926.
The square is reminiscent of many small towns throughout the US, but this one comes with a central fountain made of Italian marble. It’s a lovely spot for relaxing and watching the world go by.
If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I’m a big fan of graveyards. I know not why this is, but possibly because not too many people congregate there (live people, that is…). This is something that appeals to me.
Anyway, Evergreen Cemetery is a pleasant enough space (you know, if you like that sort of thing…). However, it does have one thing that others don’t…
‘The cemetery houses a statue of Jesus, as you’d probably expect. However, in true Texan style, he’s wearing cowboy boots instead of his sandals under his robes…’
Apparently, if Jesus was from Paris, Texas, this would be his first choice of footwear. And who would argue with him?
Sam Bell Maxey House
Samuel Bell Maxey was a district attorney, state senator, and Major General in the Confederate Army. He lived at this address on South Church Street until 1895. In 1971, the house was placed on the National Historic Register and is now operated as a tourist attraction. The house is built in an Italianate style and has been preserved as it was when Maxey was resident.
After resigning from the army, Maxey required a Presidential pardon, which he was awarded. Only the pardon would enable him to return to Paris after the war and resume practising law. Maxey and his wife are buried in the pretty Evergreen Cemetery in the city.
What are your favourite attractions in Paris?