What’s better than springtime in Paris, France? Of course, it’s springtime in Paris, Texas! Just 100 miles northeast of Dallas, Paris visitors can take their picture at the Eiffel Tower, explore antique shops, and visit the Sam Bell Maxey historic site.
Eiffel Tower, Cowboy Style
Erected in 1993 by the Boiler Makers Local #902, the Texas Eiffel Tower is just 65 feet tall. What the tower lacks in height, it makes up for with its jaunty, fire engine red, cowboy hat. Start your trip to Paris with a picture next to the iconic city symbol. The morning of our visit, we met a woman on a mission to have her picture taken in front of all three Paris Eiffel towers: in France, in Tennessee and finally, in Texas. The Texas tower is located adjacent to the Love Civic Center, 2025 S Collegiate Drive.
Jesus with Cowboy Boots
A quick stop at the cemetery is a must for any day trip to Paris. The Evergreen Cemetery has served the area since the 1860s and is still used today. The cemetery is chocked full of statues and monuments to prominent (and not so prominent) area families. Gustave Klein, a German craftsman, sculpted many of the statues including the unique Babcock monument. Willet Babcock commissioned the statue in 1880 for $2500. And while many, like Weird U.S., mention the monument, no one is quite sure why Jesus is depicted wearing cowboy boots. Open daily from dawn to dusk, Evergreen Cemetery is located at 560 Evergreen Street.
Sam Bell Maxey Historical Site
Operated by Texas Historical Commission, the Sam Bell Maxey house affords visitors a glimpse at life in early Paris. Maxey had the home built following the Civil War. A prominent Confederate general, Maxey went on to represent Texas as a two-term senator. His family continued to live in the house, until it was donated to the City of Paris in the 1960s. As a result, all the household furnishings are original to the family. You’ll see period pieces from the post-Civil War era to the early twentieth century. In total, the home contains thousands of artifacts including Maxey’s impressive book collection. The Maxey house was one of just a few grand homes spared during the 1916 fire which decimated over half the city. Located at 812 South Church Street, guided tours are given on the hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., daily (closed Monday).
Find a Treasure
Commemorating the great fire of 1916, the Culbertson Fountain anchors the city plaza. Surrounding the town square are half a dozen antique and gift stores. Some, like Lillian Kelley’s Design (4 North Plaza) combine a gift shop with antique store. Others like the Antique Mall (2 West Plaza) host independent dealers. Four times a year at the Paris Horse Auction grounds, area vendors hold the Horse Flea, a market of antique, vintage and handmade items. Check for upcoming dates on the Horse Flea Facebook page.
All that antiquing works up an appetite. Before returning home, grab a bite to eat at the Paris Bakery. The café offers sandwiches, salads, soups, and baked goods. The small café prides itself on serving fresh food made with locally produced ingredients. Take advantage of their daily specials. There is no children’s menu, but staff are happy to accommodate youngsters with off-menu items. Paris Bakery is located across from the courthouse at 120 North Main.