Settled over a century and a half ago, today Paris and the surrounding community is quickly becoming a focal point of the newly-formed 18,600 acre Mark Twain Lake in northeast Missouri.
Known as "The Friendliest Town in Little Dixie", Paris is steeped in tradition and history; but at the same time, poised for the 21st century. The county seat of Monroe County, Paris is nestled in the agriculturally-fertile Salt River Valley and inhabited by typical "Show-Me Missourians.
Despite its small size (1,500 in Paris and less than 10,000 in the county), the area offers virtually every accommodation and novelty found in much larger population centers. And because of its limited population, the community places a high regard on its people and neighbors. In one respect, the area is a throwback to a bygone era: people live in harmony; kids are free to be kids; elderly are treated with respect; and no one is afraid to take a walk in the evening.
Paris is the "hometown" of internationally acclaimed artist Gordon Snidow, whose works can be found in the county's historical society's museum at the courthouse, and the late Mary Margaret McBride, author and radio and television personality.
Visitors to Mark Twain Lake will be attracted by Florida's Mark Twain Shrine. The quarter-of-a-century old museum is a tribute to Samuel Clemens, who was in the county and in later years used many of his childhood friends from the country in his books.
Along with Twain's original birthplace, the Shrine posesses the author's invaluable handwritten manuscript of "Tom Sawyer".
The area is proud of its past. One of Missouri's four remaining covered bridges is located just west of town and the county's history can be found uniquely muraled in the rotunda of the courthouse.
Annually, thousands make a trek to Paris to hlep salute America's agricultural past when they visit the Mark Twain Old Threshers Association Steam Show. And later in the year, the community celebrates its Fall Festival.