Paris, Kentucky
Downtown Paris
Downtown Paris
"Thoroughbred Capital of the World"[1]
Location of Paris in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
Location of Paris in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 38°12′23″N 84°15′28″W / 38.20639°N 84.25778°W / 38.20639; -84.25778
CountryUnited States
Named forParis, France
 • MayorJohnny Plummer[3][4]
 • Total8.00 sq mi (20.72 km2)
 • Land7.95 sq mi (20.58 km2)
 • Water0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)
Elevation843 ft (257 m)
 • Total10,171
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,279.85/sq mi (494.18/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code859
FIPS code21-59196
GNIS feature ID2404473[6]

Paris is a home rule-class city in Bourbon County, Kentucky the county seat.[8] It lies 18 miles (29 km) northeast of Lexington on the Stoner Fork of the Licking River. It is part of the Lexington–Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2020, it had a population of 10,171.[9]


Duncan Tavern
The world's tallest three story structure

Joseph Houston settled a station in the area in 1776, but was forced to relocate due to prior land grants. In 1786, Lawrence Protzman purchased the area of present-day Paris from its owners, platted 250 acres (100 ha) for a town, and offered land for public buildings in exchange for the Virginia legislature making the settlement the seat of the newly formed Bourbon County. In 1789, the town was formally established as Hopewell after Hopewell, New Jersey, his hometown. The next year, it was renamed Paris after the French capital to match its county and honor the French assistance during the American Revolution.

Among the early settlers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries were French refugees who had fled the excesses of their own revolution.[citation needed] One Frenchman was noted in a 19th-century state history as having come from Calcutta, via Bengal, and settled here as a schoolteacher.[10]

The post office was briefly known as Bourbontown or Bourbonton in the early 19th century, but there is no evidence that this name was ever formally applied to the town itself.[11] It was incorporated as Paris in 1839 and again in 1890.[2]

African American students attended Paris Colored High School.[12] Paris is the "sister city" of Lamotte-Beuvron in France.[13]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.0 square miles (15.5 km2), of which 5.9 square miles (15.4 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.52%, is water.[9]


Historical population
2022 (est.)10,075[14]−0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 9,183 people, 3,857 households, and 2,487 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,351.2 per square mile (521.7/km2). There were 4,222 housing units at an average density of 621.2 per square mile (239.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.23% White, 12.71% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 1.35% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.62% of the population.

There were 3,857 households, out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.3% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,872, and the median income for a family was $37,358. Males had a median income of $29,275 versus $21,285 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,645. About 17.5% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.2% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.


Local schools in includes, Paris High School (in the Paris Independent Schools district), and Bourbon County High School (in the Bourbon County Schools district). Paris has a public library, the Paris-Bourbon County Library.[17]

Arts and culture

The Main Street stretch of Paris is a product of much time, effort, and money put into the preservation and revitalization of historic buildings downtown. With a handful of new restaurants garnering attention from the Central Kentucky region and beyond, a variety of downtown Paris businesses are reaping the benefits.

The Main Street Program in Paris has been active since 1992. From 2006 to 2008, fifteen buildings were renovated at a favorable time for financing such projects. More renovations were underway. Many projects used grants to renovate façades, under a program administered through GOLD, a state-funded program that works with Renaissance on Main to reward communities that "take steps to revitalize and maintain vibrant, economically sound development in Kentucky's downtown areas."[18]

Downtown Paris ARTWALK, sponsored by the Paris Main Street Program, and founded by Miranda Reynolds and Steve Walton, has become a major social and artistic event in downtown Paris.[19][20][21][22]

The Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum, located at 616 Pleasant Street, is a 4-acre (16,000 m2) arboretum that is home to the Garden Club of Kentucky. Many of the trees on the grounds were planted in the 1850s when the house was built. Nannine Clay Wallis continued the tradition of planting the latest tree introductions when her father bought the property in 1900. New trees are always being added to the collection. Her daylilies and those hybridized by a former GCKY president, roses and other flowers are also featured. Admission is free.

The Hopewell Museum, located at 800 Pleasant Street, is free and open to the public on Wednesday through Saturday afternoons. The museum is closed the month of January. The Beaux Arts structure was built in 1909 and served as the area's first post office.

Six miles east of Paris is the Cane Ridge Meeting House. Built in 1791, it is said to be the largest one-room log structure in the country. The log building is now housed inside a large stone structure, which protects it from the elements. The Cane Ridge Meeting House is one of the sites of the Great Revival of 1801, where an estimated 25,000 worshipers gathered. From that revival, the Christian Church, Churches of Christ, and the Disciples of Christ (DOC) were founded, seeking to restore Christianity to its non-denominational beginnings.

Notable people


  1. ^ "The City of Paris". City of Paris. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Paris, Kentucky". Accessed 24 September 2013.
  3. ^ "County by County Results". WKYT. November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  4. ^ "City of Paris - Mayor". Archived from the original on May 28, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  5. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  6. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Paris, Kentucky
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  8. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Paris city, Kentucky". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  10. ^ William Henry Perrin, J. H. Battle, G. C. Kniffin, Kentucky: A History of the State, Embracing a Concise Account of the Origin and Development of the Virginia Colony, Its Expansion Westward, and the Settlement of the Frontier Beyond the Alleghanies : the Erection of Kentucky as an Independent State, and Its Subsequent Development, Adair County (Ky.): F. A. Battey, 1887, p. 294
  11. ^ Rennick, Robert. Kentucky Place Names, p. 226. University Press of Kentucky (Lexington), 1987. Accessed 1 August 2013.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Paris, KY - Sister City". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  14. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  18. ^ Note: Paris Main Street manager and tourism director Linda Stubblefield quoted in a Chevy Chaser Magazine article (October 2008).[1]
  19. ^ Paris, Kentucky's tourism site Archived 2009-06-15 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Photos of Paris, Kentucky Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "parisartwalk - Profile". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  22. ^ "Custom 404 Page". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  23. ^ "Illinois Governor Joseph Duncan". National Governors Association. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  24. ^ "Illinois Governor William Lee Davidson Ewing". National Governors Association. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  25. ^ "Silvana Gallardo, actress who had been living in Paris, Ky., dies at age 58". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  26. ^ Monks, Leander John (1916). Courts and lawyers of Indiana. Indianapolis: Federal Publishing Company.
  27. ^ "An American Inventor". Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Futures Program. Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on January 15, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  28. ^ "Former Paris Boy Is Cage Star At Duquesne". The Paducah Sun. March 14, 1953. p. 20. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  29. ^ "Paris Western star, Duquesne All-American Jim Tucker has died". WKYT. May 23, 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  30. ^ Kleber, John E. (October 17, 2014). The Kentucky Encyclopedia. University Press of Kentucky. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-8131-5901-0.