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Make-Believe Paris in America (3/3): Las Vegas

Americans can now visit Paris without having to leave the United States! At the EPCOT theme park in Florida, at Universal Studios in California, and at the Paris hotel and casino in Las Vegas, tourists rub shoulders with waistcoat-wearing garçons de café and take selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower. Follow France-Amérique through those picture-postards version of Paris in the United States.

Episode 3: The Paris hotel and casino in Las Vegas (Nevada)

The replica was initially designed to be higher than the original. But to avoid impacting air traffic, the architect of the Paris Hotel & Casino was obliged to downsize his Eiffel Tower by half. The edifice was inaugurated on September 1, 1999 by Catherine Deneuve, and measures in at 540 feet high. The Alsace-born chef Jean Joho heads up the gourmet Eiffel Tower Restaurant on the first floor, and the walkway leading to the elevator is a reproduction of the Alexandre III bridge in the French capital.

“To get the public’s attention, you gotta go big.” This is the motto of architect Joel Bergman, who assisted his father in the construction of the Paris hotel — a project that took 28 months to complete. The project manager was “fascinated” by the Eiffel Tower, and the Parisian theme was finally chosen over Mount Rushmore.

paris-hotel-casino-las-vegas-tour-eiffel

A luminous reproduction of the hot-air balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers and a replica of the Arc de Triomphe two-thirds the size of the original welcome visitors onto Paris Drive. The hotel’s façade is reminiscent of the Opera Garnier, the Paris Hôtel de Ville, and the Palais du Louvre, and the lobby is a nod to the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles. The 2,916 rooms are named after a French region or city (St. Tropez, Marseille, Burgundy, Picardy, Le Mans), while the most prestigious suites have been christened with titles such as Magnifique, Charlemagne, and Napoleon.

Employees are asked to greet guests with a cheery “Bonjour,” but the Les Artistes restaurant renowned for its French onion soup and Art-Deco dome closed in 2011. Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay has since taken down the fake Van Gogh paintings and replaced the French eatery with a steakhouse. But who cares? “Vegas is not about being in a museum,” says the architect. “It’s about being entertained!”

=> In the same series, discover the France Pavilion at the EPCOT theme park in Florida, and stroll down French Street at the Universal Studios theme park in California.

Article published in the May 2018 issue of France-Amérique

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