The town's moniker notwithstanding, you aren't very likely to witness any mustached concertina players idling about, nor are you liable to run into any striped-shirted artistes cycling by with baguettes tucked under their arms. Nevertheless, you should have no problem determining your exact location here in northeastern Texas once you've spotted this appropriately distinctive landmark.
The tall, black structure identifies its location with an unmistakable "You Are Here," making city-limit signs virtually unnecessary. Has U.S. 271 taken you through London, Texas? Vienna, Texas? Berlin, perhaps? No, doofus, you've arrived in Gay Paree!
Erected by the Boiler Makers Local #902 in 1995, this 65-foot facsimile was once billed as the "Second Largest Eiffel Tower in the Second Largest Paris." At the time, it surpassed Tennessee's wooden version, the only other known Eiffel Tower to stand in an American Paris, by a good 5 feet.
Unfortunately, both Parises were forced to surrender in 1999 to a 540-foot copy in Las Vegas, and Tennessee later rebuilt theirs to 70 feet, knocking the Texas tower further down to fourth place.
You can bet, though, the one in Texas will remain the only Eiffel Tower ever to sport an enormous chapeau. In 1998, Paris business owners worked in cooperation to fabricate a giant, red cowboy hat and positioned it atop the tower at a brash, yet jaunty angle. The steel Stetson measures 4 1/2 feet high with a brim 10 feet wide.
There may be no observation deck, which is all well and good since there aren't any elevators, either. But, you can rest in the knowledge that, with no tickets to buy, you won't get screwed trying to convert euros to good, old-fashioned American dollars.
Besides, the best view is seen from the ground through the eye of a disposable instamatic. So, strike a pose and say fromage!