Paris, Nevada

photo: le village buffet

'Le Village Buffet' shown here, is in Las Vegas, Nevada -
in a hotel-casino named 'Paris.'

Desert Resort Takes Paris As Its Theme

Paris:- Thursday, 26. August 1999:- A guitar is playing some really sad chords. A thin, skinny man wearing a dirty red baseball cap, is walking across scrubby desert. His name is Frank.

He walks in a straight line, looking straight ahead, maybe at the horizon. You do not see him leave his course to avoid big tumbleweeds, cactuses or rattlesnakes. He is joined by Dean and they march on together, not saying anything.

One by one, the thin, skinny man and the tall, shamblingphoto: sign paris, las vegas man are joined by Joey, Peter and Sammy. They all march abreast; all looking straight ahead - and they march right out of Texas, across New Mexico and past Flagstaff, Arizona and into southern Nevada.

In a flat space, liberally watered from a huge lake backed up behind the Hoover Dam, Frank stops. The other four men stop too. The wind whispers quietly, fanning the rippling heat waves. Frank says, "This is it."

"Is what, Frank?" Dean asks. "It doesn't look like Hollywood to me. It doesn't look like anything, not even San Bernardino."

For the first time, Frank takes his eyes off the distance and scans the four men. "This," he says, "Is Paris, Nevada." The guitar holds the last sad chord until the wind blows it away.

When Disneyland came to the Paris area some years ago I thought, sure, and what harm can it do? Squeaky clean is something old Europe can use; maybe even needs.

Mickey and Co. belong to the world, so after getting a home in Japan it seemed only natural to plant a tent here. What started out as Euro-Disneyland has become Disneyland-Paris in the meantime.

The 'Euro' idea was and still is fine and Iphoto: replica arc de triomphe understand the majority of visitors to the 'theme-park' are Europeans. At the time of the launch, 'Euro' was not as popular as it is today - not as popular as 'Paris' that is. The marketing department changed a four-letter word for one of five, it rained a bit less and a little wine to drink was added to the offer. Disneyland-Paris does okay these days.

Las Vegas' own replica of the Arc de Triomphe has the same proportions as the original.

Now it is Paris' turn to become the subject of a 'theme' venture. I suppose it means that people who really know about these things think 'Paris' is just as popular in the public's imagination as 'Mickey.'

Next Wednesday, 1. September, a new hotel-casino complex called 'Paris' will open in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As the place lights up for the first time around 21:00 local time, the lights of the Tour Eiffel in Paris are supposed to dim, or wink, in coordination - even if it is about 04:00 in the early morning here.

In Las Vegas, at 04:00 in the morning the day is starting, not ending. 'Paris Las Vegas' 50-story replica of the Tour Eiffel will have its lights on all the time.

The 'resort,' as it is called in the trade, also has replicas of the Arc de Triomphe, the Opéra Garnier and the 2916-room hotel is supposed to resemble Paris' Hôtel de Ville. Little snippets of reconstructed 'Paris' street scenes are all over the place, including the Seine's quays and one of the fountains in the Place de la Concorde.

The main part of the reason for all this fantasy in Nevada is the gambling casino, which is set underneath the replica Tour Eiffel. It has a high ceiling, painted to look like the twilight sky of Paris. From one leg of the tower to the eastern wall of the casino, a replica of the Pont Alexandre III passes above the slot machines; of which there are 2000.

Cozily tucked into a corner of the Tour Eiffel you'll find the 'Paris Race and Sports Book,' which allows sports fans to bet on major sports events worldwide, which adds to the overall authenticity. At this time, it is unknown what sort of odds are available for PSG's chances this year.

The 1200-seat Opéra is a 'Parisian-stylephoto: concorde fountain and montgolfier theatre' where 'Las Vegas-style shows' are presented. There are also lounges such as 'Napoléon's,' where pipe and cigar smoking is permitted and the 'Le Cabaret Lounge' which features 'Euro!' bands. Further revelry can be found in 'Le Central Lobby Lounge,' 'Le Bar Du Sport' and 'Gustav's Casino Bar.'

One of Concorde's replica fountains sprays away the day, in the shade.

'Paris Las Vegas' features a total of eight French-inspired restaurants, including one - seemingly without a name - on the 11 floor of the Tour Eiffel, with a 'stunning' and 'panoramic' view of the 'glittering' Las Vegas strip. Other than this, chef Jean Joho of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc, promises to provide an 'authentic and unparalleled French culinary experience.'

'Mon Ami Gabi' is the only restaurant with an outdoor terrace on the Las Vegas Strip. Chef Gabino Sotelino, who operates two well-known restaurants in Chicago, will feature simple lunches and dinners, including the 'Classic Steak Frites' and 'Fruits de Mer.'

Other eateries also have names and they are La Rotisserie des Artistes, La Provençal, Le Village Buffet, Le Café Ile St. Louis, JJ's Boulangerie, Cafe du Parc, La Chine and Très Jazz, which features 'New World Caribbean' music.

You can ride up to the top of 'Paris Las Vegas' Tour Eiffel for eight dollars. The hotel also has a rooftop swimming pool, set in a two-acre French garden with an accompanying 'European health spa' - which does not accept French social-security vouchers.

As if all of the above were not enough, there is Le Shopping too; on 'Le Boulevard.' Not many Paris trade names are represented - other than Cartier for glasses and Lenôtre for croissants and chocolates - but the other 16 boutiques obviously have some stuff 'made in France.'

photo: entry, central lobby loungeIn case you tend to overlook large things, 'Paris Las Vegas' is centrally located in Las Vegas, across from the Bellagio with its lake, and next to Bally's. 'Paris Las Vegas' is bigger than either of the other two; it is the biggest of all in fact. Room rates start from $129 a day and go up to five grand.

'Le Central Lobby Lounge,' surrounded by wrought-iron, overlooks the whole casino.

No trans-oceanic flights necessary, warm climate with only rare rain, lots of toilets and not much Gitanes cigarette smoke are other plus-points. This a little 24-acre bit of 'Paris' in Nevada. Like the Internet, it is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, all year-round.

Unlike Paris, the Las Vegas Strip does not resemble the Champs-Elysées - which can be viewed from the top of the original Arc de Triomphe, some of the time.

Unlike Paris, when you walk away from the strip that does not resemble the Champs-Elysées, you end up in the desert - a desert that stretches nearly all the way to San Bernardino, if not quite all the way to Hollywood Boulevard and the Pacific Ocean.

Some of the information for 'Paris, Nevada' has been supplied by John McCulloch, exclusively for Metropole Paris. All photos of 'Paris Las Vegas' by: John McCulloch©1999

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