Visiting Europe in Tennessee

A Day Away by Mike Steely

Did you ever want to visit Europe and see those historic places and monuments? My son and I were treated by my wife to a trip to London many years ago and enjoyed the sights, culture and monuments there in an all-too-brief three-day stay.

If you can’t get to Europe I’ll bet you didn’t think of visiting those “European” sites in our Volunteer State or nearby. Lots of places are named for European cities like Athens, Manchester, Sparta and Carthage.

But if you’d like to see something very special then consider Paris. Yea, Paris, Tennessee, in Northwest Tennessee west of Clarksville and north of Jackson. The little town was named after Paris, France, in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolutionary War and is the Henry County seat. About 9,000 people call Paris home and are proud of the one monument there that gets lots of attention.

It’s the little Eiffel Tower, built by students at Christian Brothers University in the early 1990s and installed in its own park. The 70-foot tower is a scale model of the original. The Eiffel Tower Park also has tennis courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, soccer fields, walking trails, playgrounds, pavilions and a Frisbee golf course.

But, of course, the main attraction for tourists and people passing through is the tower itself. Who knows how many family photos have been taken there?

Although not a replica, the Memphis Pyramid is also worth a stop. Built in 1991 on the Mississippi River, the structure is 321 feet high. It’s been used for sporting events, gatherings and other events.

Nashville’s Parthenon is a replica of the original in Athens, Greece. The building was created for the 1897 Centennial Exposition. It serves as an art museum and displays a collection of paintings donated by James M. Cowan plus other gallery pieces in temporary shows and exhibits.

The Parthenon sits atop Centennial Park and has a replica of the 42-foot statue of Athena. Admission is $10 and it is open every weekday at different hours except on major holidays. It is owned and operated by the Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation, a department of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

You can find these European replicas online. While visiting any of them don’t pass up the communities in which they are located. Taking the family on outings to explore unique places is not only fun but educational. Plus it forms unforgettable memories.