Situated along the banks of the Grand River lies a hidden gem brimming with European vibes. This charming small town in Ontario will whisk you away to another land with its cobblestone streets, quaint shops and old-world feel.
Paris is a picturesque community located about an hour and a half from Toronto. While it doesn't have an Eiffel Tower or Louvre, it is home to some incredible sights and attractions.
The town has been dubbed the "Cobblestone Capital of Canada" due to the large number of cobblestone buildings and houses that can be found there. You can spend the day exploring the area and feeling like you've stepped into a little piece of the past.
From historic streets to local shops, delicious restaurants and scenic trails, there's so much to enjoy in this village. If you're dreaming of a trip to Paris without getting on a plane, here's how to spend some time in this charming Ontario town.
Things to do
Despite being a small town, Paris has no shortage of things to do. From outdoor adventures to indoor experiences, you can easily spend a day or longer enjoying the area.
During the warmer months you can take a trip along the scenic Grand River in a kayak with the Grand River Rafting Company. The trip includes views of the quaint village, beautiful wilderness and swimming stops along the way.
You can even tube along the river for a totally unique adventure.
If you'd like to stretch your legs and get lost in nature you can follow the Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail. This 18-kilometre trek "follows the Grand River through lush Carolinian forest with spectacular river overlooks," according to the Grand River Conservation Authority.
There are many indoor activities to enjoy as well. Paris is home to cute local boutiques, galleries and cafes that are waiting to be explored. You can spend an afternoon shopping and browsing unique products.
The Paris Wincey Mills Co. is a must-visit venue is Paris. The year-round market hall has a range of goods from a variety of vendors as well as a cute cafe and eateries.
From vintage items to groceries, you can find all sorts of products here.
The Paris Fairgrounds often hold fun events throughout the year, including night markets and seasonal celebrations. There are several festive events coming up including Christmas in Paris where you can shop for handcrafted items.
The Paris Museum is another spot to check out while in town. You can wander through exhibits and learn about the history of the region.
Downtown is home to events throughout the year, including the upcoming Jingle Bell Night where you can enjoy live music, a tree lighting ceremony and more.
Places to eat
You'll want to bring your appetite along because Paris has several delicious cafes, restaurants and more to check out.
If you're looking for a meal, The Cobblestone Public House is worth a visit. This historic watering hole has 16 draught beers from around the world and fresh dishes.
The menu includes salads, burgers and pub favourites like fish & chips and BBQ root beer short rib.
If views are what you're craving, Stillwaters! Plate & Pour is the place to be. The venue has a rooftop patio which features "a panoramic view of Paris and the Grand River with a focus on pure relaxation."
You can sip drinks form the open-air bar during the warmer months and indulge in dishes like steak, salmon and pasta.
Another drool-worthy restaurant is Juniper Dining Co., a fine dining restaurant with a cozy atmosphere. Inspired by French Bistros and Lyonnaise Bouchon cuisine, the venue serves dishes like oysters, lamb and crème brûlée.
No small town experience is complete without a stop at a cafe, and there are a number of quaint venues to check out in Paris.
The Dog-Eared Café is a comfortable coffee joint with drinks, books, snacks and more. It was created "in the tradition of European cafe models of old" and will make you feel like you're in a far away place.
If you have a sweet tooth, you'll want to stop by Chocolate Sensations for a little treat. From chocolate bars to ice cream, there are lots of goodies to enjoy.
Where to stay
The Arlington Hotel is a totally unique venue to book for a getaway in Paris.
The historic hotel has 23 uniquely themed rooms based on some of the owners' "favourite authors and creative minds."
You can rent rooms including the Lewis Carroll room, Brothers Grimm room, Jane Austen room, J. R. R. Tolkien room, and the Monty Python room.
The hotel is home to The Library Bar where you can grab food, drinks and Afternoon Tea.
You can also check out Airbnbs in the area for an overnight stay.
Other small towns in the area
You can go small-town hopping to explore the charming villages in the vicinity of Paris. There are several other beautiful communities that are worth a road trip.
Ancaster, Dundas and St. Jacobs are just a few of the small towns outside of Paris and you can find unique shops, restaurants, scenic trails and historic charm while visiting these spots.
Dundas and Ancaster are both surrounded by beautiful waterfall trails so you can hike your way to some beautiful cascades like Tiffany Falls or Tew Falls.
Dundas has a picturesque Main Street lined with coffee shops, fine dining restaurants and boutiques. You can find everything from lavender products to kitchenware here.
Ancaster has its own fair share of restaurants and cafes as well as stores like a cheese shop and modern country store.
The St. Jacobs Farmers' Market worth checking out. It's Canada's largest year-round farmers market and is home to tons of vendors selling food, handmade items and more.
If you're looking for a little city escape, Paris, Ontario has so many things to do and enjoy. From paddling routes to scenic trails, cute cafes and restaurants with stunning views there's no shortage of activities. Plus, you can enjoy some beautiful historic scenery as you stroll around the "Cobblestone Capital of Canada."
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.