With a population of about 3,700, Paris is located in Logan County and serves as the county seat for the northern district. The historic downtown is a thriving commercial district with antique shops, restaurants, boutiques, and the parent company and original store of the Warren’s Shoes chain. Many of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
During the spring and summer, a Farmer’s Market takes place on the square on Tuesdays and Saturdays. One of the most popular events in Paris is June's Mount Magazine International Butterfly Festival. Paris also participates in the state’s Tour of Holiday Lights during the holiday season. In addition, it is the site of several motorcycle and bicycling events for amateurs and professionals.
Paris is known as the “Gateway to Mount Magazine,” the highest point in Arkansas. The mountain’s eight scenic overlooks provide panoramic views of the Arkansas River, Paris, and the Boston Mountains. Other surrounding vistas include numerous peaks of the Ouachitas and Blue Mountain Lake. The towns of Havana and Danville can be seen to the southeast.
Magazine affords many recreational opportunities — hang gliding, horseback riding, hiking, camping, rock climbing, rappelling, and even ice climbing when weather conditions are right. The mountain’s main road contains bicycle lanes.
Mount Magazine State Park features is a full-service facility including The Lodge at Mount Magazine, the Skycrest Restaurant, a conference center, an indoor pool, a fitness center, and a game room. Set on the mountain’s south bluff, the lodge offers breathtaking views of the Petit Jean River Valley and distant Blue Mountain Lake. Thirteen fully equipped cabins share the same bluff and panoramic view.
Also in the area is Arkansas Wine Country. At nearby Altus, four family-owned wineries, three of which date back to the 1800s, offer tours and tastings. Just outside of Paris are Cowie Wine Cellars and the Arkansas Historic Wine Museum. The Benedictine of Subiaco draws visitors to experience the beauty and solitude of its grounds, impressive sandstone buildings and a Romanesque-style Abbey Church.
The rich history of Paris is preserved at the Logan County Museum, housed in the old city jail. It was the site of the last legal public hanging in Arkansas, July 14, 1914.
Paris was incorporated on Feb. 18, 1879 and is one of 23 cities in the nation named for Paris, France. Pioneers settled the area around 1820, forming a village about five miles south of the Arkansas River on the Old Military Road that ran between Little Rock and Fort Smith.
Coal mining flourished as the mainstay industry in the 1890s until the mid-1950s. As the coal industry declined, community leaders moved to diversify the economic base, which today is anchored in manufacturing, agriculture, timber and tourism.
Some people that have called Paris home include James Bridges, Zilphia Horton and James Lee Witt. Bridges is an American screenwriter and director. Some of the movies he has directed include: “The Baby Maker,” “the Paper Chase,” “The China Syndrome,” “Urban Cowboy,” “Perfect,” and “Bright Lights, Big City.” Horton was a community organizer, educator and folklorist born in 1910. She helped turn “We Shall Overcome” and other hymns into songs of the Civil Rights movement. Witt was the Director of FEMA under former President Bill Clinton.