My husband, Dan, and I recently celebrated our 23rd anniversary. On the actual date, we were traveling back from a wedding of a family member. Knowing that would be the case ahead of time, we decided to celebrate our day together a week early.
In looking at wedding gift ideas for our 23rd year, I found a couple of sites that said we should give each other the gift of silver plate. Needless to say, the silver plate wasn’t ever going to be an option because we’re not into things like that. Quite frankly, if I have to polish it, I don’t own it.
Still, wanting to have a special weekend, you can imagine my surprise when Dan told me he wanted to take me to Paris. I could hardly resist his offer – the Eiffel Tower, the pastry shops, street markets, etc.
Oh, did I mention he meant Texas and not France? As the #1 quester for How Big Is Texas, I was elated!
Where We Stayed
I know people in other states measure by miles or even walking distance to a location, if you live in a metropolitan place like New York City. In Texas, I’ve found most Texans measure by time in the car. By Texas standards, 5 1/2 hours isn’t a bad drive or at least it isn’t for me. After driving the entire perimeter of Texas, all 3,100 miles, a little under a 10th of that to Paris was a perfect weekend getaway!
Rather than stay at a hotel for our long weekend, we opted for a B&B through the booking engine, VRBO. Since we had the dogs with us, we had to find a location that was pet friendly. Located 16 miles from Paris, the accommodations we found were in the country and aptly named a “Rustic Country Hideaway.” The space felt like a cabin but was attached to the home-owners shop, which was about 50 yards from their house. It offered rustic decorations from deer heads and posed turkeys to wooden walls and tin ceilings. For some, it might have been a bit too rustic, especially with the taxidermied animal heads and bodies, but for us, it was just what we needed to enjoy our long weekend celebration. We relaxed on the quiet evenings, watching the starry night skies and appreciating the cool shade with all the oak trees on the property.
Where We Dined
Having visited Paris a number of times, including when I went through with Morgan and Debra on our perimeter of Texas, I was familiar with a good part of the town. Looking for a nice breakfast location, we came across the Paris Bakery, located just off the downtown square. Our B&B host had mentioned it when she shared a few things to see and do and places to eat in town. She talked about their wonderful pizza, but since we were there for breakfast, we opted for their french pastries and breakfast sandwiches, including a delicious ham and egg sandwich on sourdough toast, raspberry pecan toast, and an incredible strawberry cream brioche. Their fresh-brewed coffee was a perfect drink to top it all off.
Where We Visited
No trip to Paris is complete without a stop at the Eiffel Tower. Did you know it is the second largest Eiffel Tower in the world? Yes. There are several. France holds the title of largest and first, for that matter, but the tower in the Lone Star State is probably the most unique, as it sports a giant red cowboy hat at its top.
Paris Texas Eiffel Tower
Red River Valley Veteran’s Memorial Museum
Next door to the Eiffel Tower is the exceptional Red River Valley Veteran’s Memorial Museum featuring monuments, conflict walls, static displays, and a Ring of Honor. This open-air museum is one of the most beautiful tributes to our military that I’ve ever seen, especially for a community under 25,000 in population.
After our breakfast downtown, we walked down the street to the Paris Market Square Farmer’s Market. It was a bit early in the season for very many fresh fruits and vegetables, but the market was filled with homemade canned goods, plants, and local businesses. They represented well including BFT Ranch Beef, Blossom Dairy Milk, Hancock Hill Farms, Cooks Farm & Ranch, Liza’s Coffee, Pappy’s Peppers, and Paris Natural Farms. The market is open 8am-1pm on Saturdays from May-October.
Paris Farmer’s Market
A specialty vendor we met named Tim Russell, a former high school shop teacher, made hand-crafted pens. Many are made from cholla cactus along with exotic woods. One that caught Dan’s eye was a bolt-action ink pen made with a 30-caliber replica bullet. You could select the barrel of your choice. You could even purchase a miniature rifle box to put the pen in for safe keeping. Since it was our anniversary, I surprised Dan with his very own. As a Vietnam Veteran, he is proud of his service and I thought it was a unique gift idea. If you’re interested in purchasing one of these beautiful, handcrafted pens for yourself or a special gift for someone, visit the website, Tim’s Pens & More.
The Paris Countryside
The rest of our time in Paris, we took leisurely drives along the beautiful countryside. The first time we drove through Paris together a few months ago, Dan asked me if every home in Paris had a pond. Because we live in an area that gets half the rain Paris gets, it was a fair question. Many of the properties we passed by had ponds instead of swimming pools.
I suppose it’s similar to international visitors coming to Texas and asking if every Texan wears a cowboy hat and cowboy boots.
Bonjour, Y’all! from the 2nd Largest Paris in the World
In marketing, I’ve always been told that if you’re not number one, you might not want to mention your ranking. However, if you are Paris, Texas, and you are often compared to your counterpart across the pond in Paris, France, why not say you’re the second largest Paris in the world? You also have a great deal in common. You both have an Eiffel Tower. You both have open-air markets. You both have wonderful places to stay. You both have incredible bakeries to satisfy a visitor’s appetite. You both have at least one movie with your name in the title. And you both even have a bike race. Texas has the Tour de Paris while the French have the Tour de France.
All that said, only one of you has the bragging rights to say you’re in the Lone Star State. I’m not saying the French location is any lesser because of it, but I’d watch out if I were them. Paris, Texas, may be just around the corner in surpassing them in popularity.
We’ll Always Have Paris…
For some couples, a trip to Paris, Texas, might not be as exciting as a trip to Paris, France, but for us, it was the perfect place to celebrate our 23 years together. We had a wonderful time and made great memories.
Who knows where we’ll end up on our 24th anniversary. So many options from which to choose like Dublin, Athens, Naples, China, Liverpool, Egypt, Florence, Ireland, Italy, Palestine, Trinidad, Moscow, and Turkey, to name a few. How do we choose? Maybe we take an International Tour of Texas, since they’re all here.
Thanks for joining us on our adventure.
Did you know How Big is Texas now has a new podcast? If you’d like to listen, visit my podcast page and click on any episode, including Episode 6, which is the audio version of this blog post.
Until next time…from Texas…safe travels.