Tourists in Paris, Texas are often referred to the Eiffel Tower with its jaunty, red cowboy hat or the lovely downtown Italian marble fountain or possibly the statue of Jesus in Cowboy Boots in the Evergreen Cemetery. But tucked here and there are other treasures, some requiring timing but most are readily available.
240 1st SW Street. 903.784.3321
119 North Main. Call County Clerk’s office for hours 903.737.2420
120 North Main. 903.784.1331 Closed Sunday and Monday
Paris Independent School District. 903.737.7473. Or http://www.parisisd.net/
North Lamar Independent School District. 903.737.2000. Or http://www.northlamar.net/
Chisum Independent School District. 903.737.2830. Or http://www.chisumisd.org/
5. The public library can be easily overlooked on a tour of Paris but it shouldn’t be. Inside the Paris Public Library are a set of panels by the well known Texas artist, Jerry Bywaters. The paintings were created as part of the New Deal Post Office Mural Program. A native of Paris, Bywaters rose to prominence as the leader of a group of Texas artists in the 1930s and 1940s who were inspired by the Texas landscape. While you’re at the library, ask to see the wonderful piece by the African-American muralist, John Biggers.
326 S. Main. 903.785.8531
6655 Lamar Avenue. 903.785.2100
7. Rails to Trails / Trail de Paris. Paris has joined the network of rails to trails with its recent opening of a four mile, paved path that flows through neighborhoods and into deep woods. Early morning joggers or bikers can enjoy a cacophony of songbirds and if lucky, an occasional deer. A tributary off of the main path wanders into a delta of dirt trails for those with an interest in more natural habitats of the area’s birds and animals. It’s a perfect place to unwind at the end of the day.
Enter on Collegiate Street or on 24th street between Jefferson Road and Clarksville Street.
8. Paris Community Theater. If a show is on during your stay, you’re in for a treat. Begun in 1976 by the talented amateurs of Paris, the Paris Community Theater has produced plays and musicals for over 30 years. A children’s theater has also trained young thespians. It all takes place downtown on the square in the renovated Plaza movie theater.
30 N. Plaza. 903.784.0259. Or http://www.paristheatreonline.com/
9. Hayden Museum of American Art. What’s a Winsler Homer painting doing in Paris, Texas? And is that really an Ansel Adams photograph? Dr. and Mrs. William Hayden collected American Art for years (before it got so expensive, they say) and have built a private museum for its display. Be prepared for a walk through American art starting with early children’s embroidery and ending with a Robert Rauschenberg. The chair collection is also a treasure.
10. The Paris Municipal Band. Since 1923, Friday summer evenings in Bywaters park have been filled with the sounds of the oldest municipal band in Texas. Their theme song of "I Love Paris in the Springtime" begins every concert. A July 4th performance in the Paris Junior College stadium draws thousands for the music and the fireworks. Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy the free music.
Bywaters Park is located on South Main Street across from the Library