Small Town Charm in Paris, Ontario

Small Town Charm in Paris, Ontario

We acknowledge that Paris, Ontario is on the traditional territory of the Six Nations people.

The Six Nations originates with The Dish with One Spoon treaty which bound the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee people together.


At the junction of the Grand and Nith Rivers is Canada's prettiest town, Paris, Ontario. Here is where historical buildings, quaint boutiques and charming restaurants blend into the natural backdrop.

The Story of Paris

In 1822, William Holmes owned the land at the Forks of the Grand where he gathered people to settle the area and dug the first gypsum mine on the Nith River. Holmes owned the land until 1829 when it was purchased, after several failed attempts, by Hiriam Capron who saw the area's potential.

As the settlement grew, the economy’s mainstay was Plaster of Paris, a plaster derived thanks to the gypsum mine. This export was the inspiration behind Capron’s chosen name for the village - Paris. By 1850 the official village council was formed with Capron at the helm and in just six years the population would rise to 2,439 as the town was incorporated.

In 1999 Paris was amalgamated into Brant County and as of 2021 the population has grown to 15,000.

Discover the Town's History

At The Paris Museum & Historical Society you can learn more about how Paris was founded and how it became what it is today. Download the museum's Self-Guided Walking Tour to help you discover historic buildings and businesses. Paris has 13 cobblestone buildings which has earned it the title of Cobblestone Capital of Canada.

Cobblestone common is an accessible site on Grand River St. for a photo.
Eli Leavitt Photography


There are some beautiful buildings in town that have stood the test of time. Established in 1867, the Bradford Hotel was the place to stay for visitors travelling to Paris via train. With its popularity an addition was added and this high end locale was renamed the Arlington Hotel.


Explore Nature

There are a number of ways you can get up close with nature while you're in town. Whether it's walking, hiking, canoeing or cycling, there's something for everyone. Lion's Park is a great place to go for a walk, especially on the Nith River Sensory Trail which offers an inclusive experience with nature for all abilities. If you're looking for a longer path, the Cambridge to Paris Trail offers 18km along the Grand River where you can hike or cycle through the lush forest.

Want to get even closer to the rivers in Paris? Grand Experiences offers a number of canoe, paddle board, raft and kayak adventures to book for your day trip. If you prefer to be on land, there's also hiking and biking trips. Whether you want to have a guide show you the ropes, or prefer a self-guided experience, you're sure to find a great trip.


image of storefront for Grand Experiences with a kayak above the shop window
The Grand Experiences storefront on Grand River Street in Paris. Eli Leavitt Photography

If you're someone who likes nature, but prefers a more relaxed activity, head over to Penman's Dam. John Penman built the dam over 100 years ago to provide power the textile mills in town and it exists today as a spot to admire the beauty of nature. There are also plenty of places for avid fishers to get outdoors and enjoy the waters.

Do Some Local Shopping

The majority of shopping in Paris can be found on Grand River, Mechanic and William Street.

The Gem Marketplace in downtown Paris is in the historic Gem Theatre which has been lovingly restored. It's a multi-shop destination with businesses like Under the Oak Tree offering photography and paintings, and Crystal Whisperer where you can browse unique jewellery and gems and fossils too.

Near Cobblestone Common, where you can get a beautiul photo, there are a number of charming small shops. At The Peddlar you can choose from over 250 loose leaf teas, and next door you can get lost in linens at John M Hall The House Of Quality Linens. If you're in the market for home goods be sure to pop into From the Attic Interiors and Piper & Oak.

For great gifts head to Fizz Soakery for bath bomb goodness in so many shapes and styles. Another option is The Rustic Palm, a brand new shop where you can find handmade and curated items from small businesses.



The Paris Wincey Mills Co. Market on Mechanic Street
Eli Leavitt Photography

For a different type of shopping experience head to the market at Paris Wincey Mills. Here you'll find a mix of shopping, market and dining at 12+ small businesses.

Original Kettlecorn & Popcorn has 50+ flavours of popcorn for every taste and great options for holiday gifting. If you're looking for something savoury be sure to browse the setup at The Udder Way Artisan Cheese Co.

Grab a coffee or tea at Detour Coffee Roasters to enjoy as you peruse the market. Practice some self-care with one of the small batch facial serums or herbal salves at The Paris Apothecary. To get your vintage fix there's even Bird & Bee Vintage with a stunning collection of antiques and apparel.


The Paris Beer Company bottle shop store.
Eli Leavitt Photography

The Paris Beer Company can also be found in Wincey Mills and is where they brew, tap, bottle and lablel their beers. With a restaurant and bottleshop on site you can more than just a tasting of their award winning beers.

Enjoy a Café, Bakery or Restaurant

Delicious lattes & a scrumptious cookie at Dog Eared Cafe.
Eli Leavitt Photography

With books lining the walls and cozy couches, the Dog Eared Café is a great place to grab a hot beverage and a treat. You can browse the shelves of pre-loved books and purchase any that catch your eye.

If you're in the mood for baked goods, the Paris Bakery carries everything from donuts to dill pickle bread. More of a chocolate fan? Chocolate Sensations is a family run business that specializes in quality chocolate bars and chocolate covered treats.For a warmer weather dessert, grab an ice cream cone from What's the Scoop? or Twisted Treats.  


Shot of Stillwaters! Plate and Pour street sign
Eli Leavitt Photography

For lunch or dinner, Stillwaters! Plate & Pour offers market fresh dishes and views of the Grand River. The rooftop patio is the perfect place to relax as the weather starts to warm up. Also checkout Cobblestone Public House and Capeesh Craft Kitchen which are both Stillwaters! sister restaurants.

In the historic Arlington Hotel you can enjoy artful cocktails and small plates of food at The Library Bar. The timeless atmosphere is cozy and relaxed where you can enjoy conversation with friends.

Looking to treat yourself? Juniper Dining Co. is a french inspired bistro offering a modern fine dining experience.

Stay the Night

If spending the day isn't enough for you there are a few places where you can rest your head. The Arlington Hotel has 23 uniquely decorated rooms inspired by great authors and creatives. From Jane Austen to Nina Simone there's a contemporary room with playful quirks. Check out their list of unique rooms for you to choose from.

The historic Arlington Hotel.
Eli Leavitt Photography

A couple other places to enjoy an overnight stay include The Carriage House Flat, a beautiful house with river views, and the ASA Wolverton House, a charming spot built in the 1850's. For those who prefer the great outdoors, Pinehurst Lake is a short drive away and offers 169 campsites.


Whether you're heading to Paris for the day, or spending a relaxing weekend, there's so much to discover. You can eat, play, shop and stay in this beautiful town with an abundance of historical charm.


Thank you to Eli Leavitt Photography for the beautiful photos, and to The Paris Museum and Cultural Society for the research and historical information on the town.

This post is not sponsored by any of the above businesses or groups. We just want to spread the word about small towns we love.