A Tale of Two Cities
You've definitely heard of Paris, France, and its Eiffel Tower. But what about Paris, Texas, and its mini-Eiffel Tower adorned with a cowboy hat?
Across the U.S., you'll find cities that share their name with iconic metropolises around the world. Some — like Paris, Texas — have paid homage to their namesakes. For the most part, though, these twinned cities are wildly different from one another.
Here, we show you the distinctions between American cities and their global counterparts. Just be sure you don't accidentally book a flight to one versus the other!
Memphis, Tennessee and Memphis, Egypt
One is a music hotspot with more than half a million people living in it.
The other is an abandoned ancient city founded in 3200 BC.
Both have pyramids.
Distance between the two: 10,529 miles
This Tennessee city where blues music was born boasts deep musical roots, which visitors can learn about at the Blues Hall of Fame, Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Rock 'n Soul Museum. Famously, this is where Elvis Presley spent many years of his life, and where his eclectic former estate of Graceland resides.
A visit to Memphis should also include a plate of barbecue, which typically features a tangy sauce of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar.
Where Memphis, Tennessee rests along the Mississippi River and was the home of the King of Rock n Roll, this ancient city rests along the Nile River and was a capital under King Tut.
Dating back more than 5,000 years, the city is located just 12 miles from Cairo and its more famous Pyramids of Giza, and was once filled with its own pyramids and temples.
Many travelers tour it on a day trip or via a Nile River cruise, making time to explore its fascinating remains, including a statue of Ramses II, a carved sphinx, royal palaces, the temple of Ptah and a necropolis that's open to the public.
Fun fact: The pyramids here inspired the Tennessee Memphis to build its own pyramid — aptly named the Memphis Pyramid — that today serves as a shopping, dining and lodging complex.
Paris, Texas and Paris, France
One has less than a quarter thousand people living in it.
The other welcomes nearly a quarter of a billion tourists annually.
Both have towers of metal.
Distance between the two: 7,782 miles
This little town in northwest Texas knows how to have fun with its name: It added its own Eiffel Tower in 1993, topping it with a red cowboy hat.
A railroad stopping point since 1876, the city is about 1.5 hours from Dallas and was made famous by the 1984 film, "Paris, Texas," starring Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell and Nastassja Kinski.
Visitors can explore the 19th-century Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Site, the home of a Confederate general and Mexican War veteran, as well as the Lamar County Historical Museum to learn about local history.
Its world-famous La Tour Eiffel didn't become part of the landscape until 1889's World's Fair. Yet it has become the symbol of France's capital city.
The 40 million tourists who descend upon the City of Light each year also typically head to the Louvre, the world's largest museum, and other cultural institutions like the Musee d'Orsay, home to a sterling collection of Impressionist pieces.
The food and fashion here are tops as well, with Le Cordon Bleu training some of the best cooks on the planet, and fashion houses like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Dior and Givenchy remaining on the cutting edge of style.
Sorry Paris, Texas, but this is the more popular Paris for a reason.
Kingston, New York and Kingston, Jamaica
One rests upon a river of blue.
The other upon a sea of turquoise.
Both support and inspire arts and culture.
Distance between the two: 2,674 miles
Kingston, New York
Nestled along the Hudson River in New York state, Kingston dates back to 1652 and was the state's first capital city in 1777. Just 90 miles north of New York City, Kingston is renowned as a harbor to artists, particularly the Rondout neighborhood artist community and its multiple art galleries.
Stroll along the city's historic main streets to visit multiple galleries, and enjoy the many venues used to showcase cultural works, including the Ulster Performing Arts Center. An Art Walk and the Arts Society of Kingston's Arts Center keep the arts scene thriving in this charming small town.
Although most visitors to the island of Jamaica visit its northern cities of Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios, this is the island's capital and largest city.
A harbor town founded in 1692, Kingston, Jamaica, is the largest English-speaking city in the Western Hemisphere outside of the U.S. and Canada. Once a safe haven for pirates, today it is home to many musicians and artists and hosts a number of music festivals throughout the year.
In February, the city's Blue Mountains are celebrated during the Blue Mountain Music Festival, and every June, One World Ska & RockSteady Music Festival gives visitors a chance to hear Ska in its birthplace.
Naples, Florida and Naples, Italy
One has been a port city since 1886 and is famous for its snowbirds.
The other has been a port city since 326 BC and is famous for its pizza.
Both provide gorgeous seas in which to sail and fish.
Distance between the two: 8,616 miles
Purposely designed to be a retreat for Americans seeking warmer climes in the winter, Naples, Florida, was founded in 1886. In an effort to lure visitors and suggest prestige, it was explicitly named after Naples, Italy.
Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Naples offers sophisticated dining, shopping and culture, as well as family-friendly beaches. The city's waterfront location also provides the perfect starting point for a day on the gulf, with many sailing and fishing expeditions ready to take visitors out for a day on the emerald-green water.
Naples has been a bustling port since Roman times, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on Italy's southeast coast. Cruise ships and other boats regularly pull into port, offering passengers a chance to explore the city along with its neighboring tourist destinations along the Amalfi Coast. Mount Vesuvius, which towers in the background of the city, is also worth exploring nearby.
Most famously, Naples, Italy, is credited with introducing the world to pizza. The Neapolitan pizza is a simple, thin-crusted dish topped with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Rarely can a visitor pass up the opportunity to grab a slice — or an entire pie.
Cambridge, Massachusetts and Cambridge, England
One was founded under a king's colonists in 1630.
The other was founded under a king in 1209.
Each is home to a world-class university.
Distance between the two: 5,258 miles
Cambridge, Massachusetts — which sits along the Charles River just opposite of Boston — was originally founded in 1630 to serve as the capital of the state.
The oldest university in the United States, Harvard, was established a few years after to serve the clergy (it was named for Reverend John Harvard). Its graduates include Henry David Thoreau, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.
The second-oldest-university in England, the University of Cambridge began under a royal charter in 1231 by King Henry III and to this day remains one of the most prestigious schools in the world. Some of the school's graduates include Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Byron, Stephen Hawking and more modern stars like Emma Thompson, Tom Hiddleston and Helena Bonham Carter.
The university is made up of numerous colleges, including King's and Trinity, which was created by King VIII. Because of its schools, Cambridge, England, is filled with museums and hosts numerous exhibits. Just 50 miles from London, visitors can take the train to Cambridge and explore its many historical buildings and parks.
St. Petersburg, Florida and St. Petersburg, Russia
One is home to waters that glisten when the sunshine hits.
The other is home to a church of multiple colors with a roof that glistens when the sunshine hits.
Both have a strong population of Russian residents.
Distance between the two: 8,526 miles
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida, is actually named for the Russian city, as it was founded in 1888 by Peter Demens, who was from the European city. But while there are many with ancestry from Russia who live in this southwest Florida city, it is otherwise nothing like its Russian counterpart.
The fifth-largest city in Florida, St. Pete, as it is lovingly referred to by locals, holds the distinction for having the most consecutive days of sunshine — 768! With all this sunshine, its residents and visitors spend much time outdoors, enjoying Gulf of Mexico beaches, outdoor boutique shopping areas, and waterfront dining under the sun and stars.
St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg, Russia, served as the nation's capital for more than 200 years after its founding by Peter the Great in 1703. It was his desire to create a new capital and a new Russia, but once the Russian Revolution ousted the Tsars in 1918, the city lost its status as capital to Moscow.
Its famous Church of the Resurrection, aka Savior on Spilled Blood, was built in 1881 on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. The baroque building touts an interior of mosaics, multicolored exterior and five onion domes covered in golden enamel, with 20 plates highlighting important events that occurred under the Tsar before his death.
Alexandria, Virginia and Alexandria, Egypt
One was founded in 1749.
The other was founded in 331 BC.
Both are port cities that were home to world rulers.
Distance between the two: 9,176 miles
The oldest neighborhood of Washington D.C., Old Town Alexandria sits across the Potomac River and was home to America's first president, George Washington, who resided at Mount Vernon. Alexandria was originally settled in 1669 and served as a port.
Today, you can step back in time in Old Town, which houses more than 200 restaurants and shops along with museums along the waterfront.
One of the world's 10 oldest continuously inhabited cities in northern Africa, Alexandria's importance stems from its location on both the Nile River and the Mediterranean Sea. The successful port city is Egypt's second-largest and is named for its founder, Alexander the Great.
Its Pharos lighthouse is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, built in 280 BC and standing 449 feet in height before it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1480 and fell into the sea.
Dublin, Ohio and Dublin Ireland
One believes Irish is an attitude.
The other is actually Irish.
Both offer Celtic treats to visitors.
Distance between the two: 5,741 miles
Located outside of Columbus, Ohio, the suburban Dublin didn't officially become a city until 1987. However, it was first incorporated in 1881, when it was given its name by an Irishman because of its green rollings hills.
The city proclaims that "Irish Is An Attitude" and offers plenty of its own Irish experiences and hidden gems. More than 20 businesses have been "Irish Approved," with products and services that do Ireland proud. The city even offers a Celtic Cocktail Trail to sample drinks and Irish fare around its bars and restaurants.
The history of Dublin begins with Viking raids, but today the city is all Irish and the capital of the Irish Free State. Ranked one of the top 40 cities in the world by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, Dublin is a lively city filled with shops, restaurants, entertainment and museums.
There are more than 1.3 million people living in Dublin, making it the largest city in Ireland.
Melbourne, Florida and Melbourne Australia
One is considered the Coffee Capital of the World and has nearly 5 million residents.
The other is a sleepy Space Coast city of 82,000 near a famous mouse.
They both have beautiful sandy beaches.
Distance between the two: 15,671 miles
Situated along the Atlantic Ocean of Florida, Melbourne, Florida, is just over an hour from Orlando and Walt Disney World, as well as the Kennedy Space Center — which is why the city is considered part of the "Space Coast."
It's relatively sizable, with a population of 82,000, and considered an "economic engine" in its county. But it has yet to earn the fame of other Floridian cities, let alone its world-renowned Australian counterpart.
A 2016 census revealed that the city has more millennials than any other Florida city (20 percent), including the actress and Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton. But before millennials were a thing, the city also was the birthplace of an original hipster: Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors.
The capital of the southeastern state of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, is considered one of the most livable cities in the world. It also has such a love affair with coffee that it has earned the nickname "Coffee Capital of the World," and hosts an annual coffee expo.
Offering all the amenities of a large port city alongside ample parks and beaches, Melbourne is a laidback cosmopolitan destination catering to foodies, cultural travelers and those craving nightlife.