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A Postcard From Paris (Texas): Your Guide To An East Texas Gem

Within the Lone Star State's version of the city of love -- Paris, Texas -- sits a 65 feet tall replica of the Eiffel Tower. It is surrounded by trees that bloom with pink flowers.
Keren Carrión
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KERA
A family from Mesquite, Texas, visits the Paris Eiffel Tower, just two hours north of Dallas, on a rainy August afternoon.

Texans will tell you everything is better and bigger in the Lone Star State. Some would argue that even our Paris is better than France’s. Don't believe us? Here's our guide so you can take a day trip to this East Texas town.

More than 100 miles northeast of Dallas, there's a small town that has a certain je ne sais quoi. 

Paris, Texas, has a lot more to offer than a name with cachet. There are antique shops, locally owned restaurants and a sweet Southern charm. People who live in the East Texas town of about 25,000 call it a close-knit community.

Looking for a day trip or weekend getaway? KERA took a quick trip to Paris and has this list of things to check out:

Spectators takin in the scenery of the many historic red brick building in downtown Paris.
Keren Carrión
The Grand, an abandoned movie theatre in Downtown Paris, congratulates a local couple on their baby, on Aug. 14, 2021.

Start the day with a stroll downtown. If you ask Parisians — that’s what they call themselves in Paris, Texas — what they love most about their hometown, they say it’s the spirit of community. They point to downtown Paris as the place where everyone smiles and waves as they enjoy musical performances, comedy shows, mini-golf and bluegrass jam sessions.

Paris Texas' Culbertson Fountain is a symbol of the rebuilding of Paris after a devastating fire in 1916.
Keren Carrión
The Culbertson Fountain, a marble fountain built to commemorate the 1916 Paris fire, is the center of downtown Paris.

The iconic Culbertson Fountain is also located in the heart of downtown. The fountain is a symbol of the rebuilding of Paris after a devastating fire in 1916. Surrounding the fountain are historic buildings and architecture from the years 1916 to1918. It’s a unique focal point and vivid reminder of how far the town has come.

Explore antique shops. Paris has a hodgepodge of collectible and antique shops. From vintage clothing and funky jewelry to eclectic knickknacks, there seems to be something for everyone. Some local favorites include Priest’s Emporium, Monique’s Antiques and Remember When Collectibles.

A view of a long hallway filled with collectibles and vintage finds stacked on shelves in an antique shop. Postcards with the Paris Eiffel tower are sold throughout all the antique shops in Paris, Texas.
Keren Carrión
Rows of collectible antiques line the inside of the Texas Antique Mall, in Paris.

Be sure to visit the Eiffel Tower. It was known as the “second largest Eiffel Tower in the second largest Paris” until Las Vegas swiped the title in 1999. The famous city destination sports its southern flair with a bright red cowboy hat. The tower, unveiled in 1996, was built by 78 Parisian welders who spent approximately 1,000 hours creating it. Today it is the main rally point for locals and tourists. During the holiday season, LED lights sparkle red and green, and many use the tower for wedding photos or baby gender reveal parties.

It's located at 2025 S. Collegiate Dr. next door to the Love Civic Center and Red River Valley Veterans Memorial.

Grab a bike and glide down the Trail de Paris. This greenspace runs for a little over 3 miles from the town east into the countryside. The paved route follows a lovely corridor with a shaded canopy, crossing over bridges alongside old railroad tracks. The Trail de Paris opens half an hour before dawn and closes half an hour after dusk. It's a great way to wander and explore picturesque views of the city, including downtown and the Eiffel Tower. It also offers access to a butterfly garden and other parks.

Location: S. Collegiate Dr. Paris, TX 75460

In a cemetery in Paris Texas there's a statue that's been coined the name Jesus in cowboy boots by some locals.
Keren Carrión
On top of Willett Babcock’s 1828 gravestone, sits a Jesus statue with cowboy boots, at the Evergreen Cemetery in Paris, Texas.

Look out for “Jesus with cowboy boots” at the cemetery. At the Evergreen Cemetery, where thousands of people are buried, one gravesite stands out — a 15-foot-tall statue of a man named Willet Babcock. Many people say the figure, with long hair and flowing gown leaning against a cross, looks like Jesus showing off his cowboy boots. Babcock came to Paris from Indiana in 1859. He organized the first volunteer fire company in Paris and owned an opera house. Turns out he also built furniture much like Jesus himself.

Location: 560 Evergreen St, Paris, TX 75460

We’ll always have Paris (Texas)!

Learn about the other Paris:

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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