Who's kidding who? If given the choice, everyone would go to le vrai (the real) Paris. No question about it. But if you can't make it to Paris, then Paris Las Vegas is the next best thing. This hotel located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip really does feel like the iconic city because so many elements of French architecture and attitude have been seamlessly integrated here.
Opened in 1999, there are replicas of the Arc de Triomphe, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and La Fontaine des Mers at the Place de la Concorde. You can even ride a glass elevator -- after crossing Le Pont Alexandre III, a reproduction of one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris -- to the top of a half-scale duplicate of the Eiffel Tower, which boasts spectacular views of the Fountains of Bellagio the Strip and the outlying city.
Three of the massive legs of the Eiffel Tower actually sit inside the resort. This creates the feeling of being outdoors in a park-like setting, which is enhanced by the blue sky-simulated ceiling, lampposts, lifelike leafy trees, breathtaking fountains and cobblestone walkways. Gaming occurs in the center of a picturesque casino floor under lattice-work soffits. All around the periphery are façades that bring to life villages from the different provinces of France. It's very enchanting -- and it feels worlds away from Las Vegas.
Entertainment at Paris Las Vegas is also très enchanting. The resort draws together headliners, cultural programs and even Parisian-style performers. In Le Théâtre des Arts is the beloved Tony award-winning musical "Jersey Boys." Hypnotist Anthony Cools currently hosts an adults-only show during which audience members are invited onstage and then do unexpected things at his command (usually of an embarrassing and inappropriate nature).
Like the city it's inspired by, the nightlife at Paris Las Vegas never stops. Chateau Nightclub includes a stunning interior complete with a vaulted ceiling, ornate chandeliers, sleek furnishings and rich fabrics as well as The Terrace overlooking the action on the Strip. World-class musicians regularly take the stage at Napoleon's, a dimly lit lounge that also serves more than 100 labels of champagne. Le Cabaret Lounge hosts traditional cabaret evenings along with bands singing your favorite standards and pop songs in English and sometimes French.
In addition, guests of Paris Las Vegas can feed their inner Francophile by enjoying the resort's many gastronomic French connections. Mon Ami Gabi is a chic bar and brasserie featuring sophisticated bistro fare such as warm brie cheese, escargots, onion soup au gratin, crêpes and quiches – not to mention the extraordinary steak frites. This restaurant was the first to initiate outdoor patio dining on the Strip.
The the quick-tempered star of "Hell's Kitchen" opened Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas. Chef J. Joho presides over the elegant Eiffel Tower Restaurant, situated 11 stories above the Strip. This is definitely among the most romantic places in Las Vegas and the food -- especially the lamb and foie gras -- are sure to steal your heart. Steve Martorano serves up homestyle Italian cuisine at Martorano's at Paris. Le Burger Brasserie puts a French twist on an American food classic. The restaurant's signature dish is the $777 kobe beef and Maine lobster burger. And the Sugar Factory, a sweets lover's paradise, offers excellent people watching on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Paris Las Vegas' casual dining options are just as remarkable in character. Le Village Buffet channels the finest of the country's fare with six stations all themed for different regions in France. Le Café Île St. Louis offers sidewalk-style seating along with an intimate dining room and a menu full of French classics. Sweet and savory crêpes are served in the charming La Crêperie, while the cozy French bakery JJ's Boulangerie prepares artisan breads, pastries, tarts and more. And Yong Kang Street is a dumpling and noodle house similar to what you might find in Taipei.
Walk-up food windows are also interspersed between the eclectic collection of shops along Le Boulevard. There is a wine store, an accessories boutique and a children's shop with the beloved books about Madeline and Eloise, along with plenty of outlets carrying unique souvenirs.
Paris Las Vegas guests can also indulge in exotic pampering treatments -- such as Balinese massages and body polishes -- at the Paris Spa by Mandara. It includes a state-of-the-art fitness center as well as a relaxation lounge, sauna and steam room. The two-acre rooftop pool is another stunning facility with an outdoor café (du Parc) and luxurious private cabanas.
For anyone who has a longstanding love affair with all things French, Paris Las Vegas is à ne pas manquer -- not to be missed!
-- By Renée LiButti