Paris is Northeast Texas’ City of Love
Although it doesn’t officially share the same tag line as its sister city in France, Paris, Texas, is still the City of Love in the Upper East Side of Texas. Radio personality Paul Harvey once said it is a city “where tomorrow fell in love with yesterday, and side by side, they lived happily ever after.”
Then there’s the Love Civic Center that doesn’t have anything to do with the “city of love” notion but coincidentally the multi-purpose center was named for Malone Hughes Love whose generous donation was made in honor of her husband J.A. Love.
There’s lots of love to go around in Paris. Here are a few things there loved by locals and visitors alike.
Next to the Love Civic Center is the 65-foot Eiffel Tower replica constructed in 1993 and “Texanized” in 1998 with a red hat with a 10-foot brim and 4.5-foot crown. It’s a favorite for photo opportunities and symbolizes the cities connection to Paris, France.
Trail de Paris
In the heart of Paris, serenity is found on the Trail de Paris, a gently curved route from 12th SE Street, winding east under a beautiful living canopy of trees over Loop 286 to the Paris city limits.
The trail promotes recreational, educational, and civic opportunities providing a safe place to walk, run, or ride bicycles, and is handicapped accessible. This is Paris and Lamar County’s only non-motorized pedestrian/bicycle trail. Leashed dogs are also permitted on the trail.
Established near the center of the corridor is the butterfly/hummingbird garden that thrills patrons with its floral display in blooming seasons. A nursery of Monarch chrysalises has adorned the monuments located there in the past. This is one of many places on the trail offering photographic scenery.
The trail goes through a 90-acre heavily wooded area and beyond with sites of unique bridges, creeks, rippling water, huge sugarberry trees, crape myrtles, more trees and more trees, honeysuckle, fireflies, under bridge art, wildflowers, pastoral scenes, and much more, some labeled for educational enjoyment.
The beautiful fountain in the heart of downtown Paris was a gift from J.J. Culbertson in 1927 who got the idea from a family vacation he took in Italy. The fountain is made of Italian marble and is surrounded by an inviting plaza with green grass, trees, and attractive landscaping.
Among the historic buildings in downtown Paris are easily accessible and unique shopping opportunities. The Green Boutique offers Fair Trade and eco-friendly products like organic cotton T-shirts, recycled paper purses, jewelry, and bowls, and much more. Other shops carry antiques, clothing, shoes, sporting goods, and a variety of other products.
The Lamar County Historical Museum is situated in a building on West Kaufman Street just south of Heritage Hall and in Heritage Park. It features a rural life section, exhibitions and six galleries. It displays more than 200 postcards with Paris scenes. Galleries include military, African American, the Great Fire of 1916, early 20th century furniture, artifacts from the demolished Buckner Orphanage, log house, hay and cotton industries, a blacksmith shop, a loom, tool collections, and a number of antique washing machines.
Sam Bell Maxey House
Built in the High Victorian Italianate style in 1868, the two-story Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Site was the family residence of Mexican War veteran Sam Bell Maxey, also a Confederate general, and two-term U.S. senator. The house is open for tours Tuesday through Sunday.
Arts & Entertainment
Paris always has something going on from live music at That Guy’s Coffee and other venues, nationally acclaimed comedy shows at LMAO Comedy Club, an eight-screen movie theater, Paris Community Theatre, a community choir, and a municipal band that plays concerts in the park in the summer. A growing arts effort includes The Plaza Art Gallery and numerous downtown shops carry art.
Lakes & Parks
Numerous parks and lakes adorn the Paris landscape including Bywaters Park which boasts a beautiful 1931 Cornthian peristyle mimicking the unique style of a Grecian temple. Lakes include Lake Gibbons which is a refuge for geese and Lake Crook which is used for fishing, boating, and picnics.
Food & Drinks
There’s no shortage of good dining opportunities in Paris. For the downtown experience there’s Time Flies, Bois d’arc’s, Cattle Drive Steakhouse, Crawford’s Hole in the Wall, and the Paris Bakery to name a few. Out on the loop is an extensive gathering of other fine restaurants.
Beer and wine and sometimes full bar are available in some of the restaurants. Some offer BYOB, and others don’t allow alcohol at all so it’s best to call ahead if that’s an important part of the dining experience. Beer and wine are available at the local grocery and convenience stores.
Paris Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery and vineyard about eight miles northeast of town.
There’s one bed and breakfast near downtown. Old Magnolia House was built in 1871 and is a two-story Victorian home with original stained glass windows and is said to have really good food for a perfect weekend getaway.
Many comfortable hotel/motels are located just a few miles from downtown on the loop surrounding Paris.
For more information on Paris, Texas, visit the Paris page on www.county-linemagazine.com and www.paristexas.com.