Many seniors are attracted to this southern town of 10,000 people for its low crime rate and reasonable housing costs. Paris is located 40 miles north of Interstate 40, the main highway between Memphis and Nashville, and about 60 miles west of Interstate 24, a connecting road to Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. The largest attraction in the area is Kentucky Lake, 15 miles to the east of town. This large body of blue water is a prime recreation spot for water skiers, boaters and swimmers. Land Between the Lakes, a sprawling and popular recreation area, is also nearby and separates Kentucky Lake from another large body of water, Lake Barkley.
Fifteen minutes away is yet another recreation area, Paris Landing State Park. Rolling farmland and thick woods surround Paris, and despite its southern location, this charming town enjoys four distinct seasons, another selling point for seniors who cannot tolerate continuously warm weather.
Wal-Mart and other chain stores are located here, but so are locally owned shops and boutiques. Small department stores and sporting goods stores dot the downtown where many of the buildings have been restored to their original Victorian appearance. The local Downtown Merchants’ Association wields a lot of clout and urges merchants to retire their stores to their 1890s’ look. The centerpiece of the downtown area is the Henry County Courthouse, a structure that has been completely and faithfully restored to its original appearance by Paris/Henry County Development Corp., a non-profit group in which many seniors participate. This is a town square that effectively competes with the chain stores and ensures a lively downtown, something not found in all small towns.
Most retirees here choose to live in town where housing costs are less expensive than those along the Lake. Smaller homes in town start at about $65,000; real estate along the Lake starts at around $200,000 and go up from there. New larger homes in the Country Woods area start at $150,000.
Paris offers a number of civic clubs, garden clubs and political organizations for seniors who like to stay active and involved. For anyone seeking the attractions of a larger city, Nashville is 110 miles to the east, and many seniors make the two hour drive for shopping, dining and the theater. Retirees will also find, in addition to the wide variety of water activities, two golf courses. On one, the Kentucky Lake 18 hole municipal golf course, seniors play free on Mondays.
A sixty-foot tall replica of the Eiffel Tower is located here. It was constructed in 1992 of 500 pieces of Douglas fir and 6,000 steel rods. When the wood started to deteriorate, it was reconstructed with all steel. It is located in Memorial Park where there are tennis courts, swimming pool, soccer fields, walking trails and a Frisbee golf course.
Paris is also the home of the “World’s Biggest Fish Fry,” and every year at the end of April it is celebrated with a parade, art and craft fair, a rodeo and a fun fair. The town sign features a 20 foot long catfish that promotes the fair and welcomes visitors.
Climate: Four distinct seasons; summers are warm and humid, and winters are chilly. The average January high is 45 degree, and average January low is 25 degrees. The average July high is 90 degrees, and the low is 70 degrees. Average humidity is about 60%.
Cost-of-Living: Below the national average.
Health Care: Paris-Henry County Medical Center with 140 beds. Larger facilities are located in Nashville and Memphis.
Housing: Average housing cost for a new three bedroom home is $135,000. Smaller homes are considerably less, starting at around $75,000.
Safety: Crime rates are lower than the national average.
Taxes: Sales tax is 8.25%. Some items, including prescription drugs, are exempt from sales tax. There is no state income tax, and interest on CDs and savings is exempt, but there is a 6% tax on interest and dividends City taxes are $41 per $1,000 of assessed value (homes are assessed at 25% of market value), and county taxes are $28 per $1,000 assessed value (homes are assessed at 25% of market value).
Transportation: The nearest airport is Barkley Regional located in Paducah about 61 miles away; Henry County is a smaller airport, but is only 5 miles from Paris.
Contact: Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 8, Paris, TN 38242, 800-345-1103.