A stop in historic downtown is a must along with a browsing of the boutiques, antiques, and eateries that make Paris a little Texas wonder. One of eighty-eight Main Street cities across Texas, it's adorable. Spangler's, a local gift shop on West Plaza is a joy to visit with local artisan gifts, collectibles and all at excellent, fair prices.
Paris is known for its gorgeous and historic churches. We visited a half dozen, all lovely and architecturally astounding and with colorful histories and stories to tell. Each church was an elaborate work of art which painted a picture of the community's arts, culture and beauty. Elaborate stained glass, ornate woodwork, and spires were just a few notable characteristics we enjoyed.
Beautiful historic landmarks and hidden gems are peppered throughout Paris. The Lamar County Courthouse is one of the largest in the state and made from the same granite as the Capitol. The Lamar County Historical Museum in Heritage Park is outstanding and paints a thorough picture of the gripping history of Paris along with the steadfast spirit of its citizens through several wars, a great fire that ravaged the entire city, and other major events that shaped the area. A volunteer labor of ten local men, this 7000 square foot museum is remarkable for such a small city.
We thoroughly enjoyed a tour of the home of Confederate General Sam Bell Maxey. A well displayed State Historic Site, it offers visitors a glimpse into state and local history with an extensive collection of historic furnishings, letters, and clothing as well beautiful architecture.
A tour of the Evergreen Cemetery is a must for history lovers. In operation since 1866, it is well known for several unique and hand-carved headstones and monuments including Jesus with Cowboy boots, a perplexing but must-see spectacle.
Just outside town is peaceful Pat Mayse Lake, a pristine swimming, boating, camping, and fishing mecca that draws visitors from many states.
While in Paris we thoroughly enjoyed a delicious comfort food lunch at Crawford's Hole in the Wall. Locally owned and operated, this super-friendly little cafe serves quite likely the best bread pudding in the entire country. A little local, excellent and casual eatery, the décor is fun and whimsical and the place is packed with locals. Stick-to-your-ribs comfort foods like Frito Chili Pie and Fried Pickles, along with lower calorie and healthy options such as salads and specials will undoubtedly satiate your appetite. No visit to Paris would be thorough without a meal at this fabulous little unforgettable find.
Excellent walking, hiking, and cycling trails wind through much of Paris and the town surprisingly offers many festivals and annual events so you may want to plan a visit around one. Several theaters offer terrific cultural and theatrical choices. The area is steeped in culture and arts at every turn.
We loved our informative trolley tour aboard the Trolley de Paris that we took after a visit of the Love Civic Center where we enjoyed the town's iconic Red Cowboy Hat atop the Eiffel Tower. The Veterans War Memorial next door was also impressive.
You will likely never find warmer or more generous and kind people than in Paris. Texas. The area is a truly spectacular Texas gem with arts, culture, family-friendly activities, excellent cuisine, and gripping history. Our family treasured our visit and we know you will too.
Carmel L. Mooney is the editor of Roadtripsforcouples.com, an online travel magazine. Carmels been on local talk radio for 17 years and now co-hosts THE GOOD LIFE with Mike the Wine Guy on KMYC 1410AM. Her family travel column can be read in California Kids Magazine at: Valcomnews.com You can follow her on Twitter: @CarmelLeeMooney or Facebook. Carmel is also the Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit that trains and places Autism Service Dogs.