Only in Paris, Texas
We searched high and low for the elusive Eiffel Tower. We drove around Paris for a good while, navigating unknown streets, scanning the horizon, trying to follow the GPS directions. At long last we saw it in all its 65 foot high glory.
And a red cowboy hat on top.
Welcome to Paris, Texas, the home of the second tallest Eiffel Tower in the world. Or it used to be, as the tower in Paris, Tennessee, is 70 feet high and the Las Vegas reproduction is 540 feet high. Although it proves that not everything is bigger in Texas, it is a display of local creativity and pride.
I’ve said this before, but I’m strangely drawn to old cemeteries. The historic Evergreen cemetery had a special appeal: a statue of Christ wearing cowboy boots. It marks the grave of a Mr. Willett Babcock, who died in 1881. I read somewhere that this statue caused some controversy at the time. I think it represents what Mr. Babcock believed in, but since I’ve never met him, I can’t say for sure.
After rummaging in an antiques shop (I did, Sean waited outside) and strolling around the main square, I wanted to go back to the Old Courthouse to see something that had caught my attention earlier.
It was a monument to the Confederate Army. Each side honours someone different: the heroes fallen during the Civil War (1861-5), the women of the South who supported their men, the sons of Texas who fell in battle and, I think, the entire Civil War as the inscriptions reads “From Ft. Sumpter to Appomattox”, the battles which marked the beginning and the end of the war. There are four busts, one of which is General Lee.
Politics aside, I found the very existence of this monument very interesting. It speaks volumes of who the Texans are and what they believe in. In my opinion, it is not so much about secession now but about asserting their identity and sending a clear message: this is us, we fought, we lost but we are proud and we don’t forget. As far as I can see, this sentiment is very much alive in smaller towns than in big cities.