A view of the Paris Las Vegas during the day. Photo taken from a room at the Bellagio across the street.

Even if you’ve never been, you know the Paris Las Vegas. 

It’s that hotel and casino on the strip that’s topped by a replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Specifically, a 1:2 replica of the tower beside a mini Arc de Triomphe. Initially, the Eiffel Tower was supposed to be full scale, but it’s hard to argue about the size of a replica monument when it interferes with the operations of a busy airport like McCarren… err.. Harry Reid. And the tower that was built is iconic in itself — particularly because its back legs extend into the casino floor. You can’t forget where you are when you’re gambling in the Paris Las Vegas!

(Psst… if you love it, you shouldn’t miss a chance to get your own Paris Las Vegas Shirt). 

Humble(ish) Beginnings

Though Caesars Entertainment now operates the Paris, the hotel project was initially proposed by Bally Entertainment in the boom times of the late ’90s — 1995, to be precise. Ground was broken in 1997 on the site of a small 1970s strip mall. The mall included a Liquor Locker and a Little Caesars. RIP, little mall. 

But now you know the likely reason that the Paris is connected with what, at the time, was Bally’s (now Horseshoe). And, as a brief aside, does anyone really know where the Paris ends and Bally’s (Sorry, the Horseshoe), really begins? That hallway needs some serious work in terms of a transition.

All I know is that when I see Shiver Frozen Cocktails, I’ve arrived.

Shiver Frozen Cocktails in Bally's or Horseshoe Las Vegas

Thank God these walls can’t talk. I don’t always drink frozen cocktails, but when I do, this is where I go…

Anyways…

The hotel opened two years after construction began. The opening ceremony was the perfect combination of American excess and French class, with Catherine Deneuve, BAFTA-winning French actress and star (the following year) of Dancer in the Dark, flipping a switch to turn on all of the lights in the Paris — including a number of impressive and opulent chandeliers. Obviously, there were fireworks, too, shot from the top of the half-sized Eiffel Tower. 

The First Few Years

As you would expect of a Las Vegas landmark, the Paris Las Vegas’ history is star-studded. The hotel has been a temporary home to many shows and residencies over the years. The Producers played the Paris from 2007 to 2008, initially starring none other than David Hasselhoff. Hasselhof was replaced for top billing by Tony Danza, and next came a three-year residency at the Paris by Barry Manilow (who’s now over at The Westgate). 

Big names abounded for a while, as they did throughout Las Vegas, but the 2008 crash did start to change things.

At this point in the Paris Las Vegas’ history, it was time for the owners and operators of the hotel to get creative.

Plenty of Las Vegas heavy hitters narrowed their marketing scope and switched up what they offered around this time. The Paris decided to go for the pink dollar (a phrase less weird then than it is now). In other words, they worked to bring in queer patrons — known in 2008 as “gay and lesbian guests.” In the incredibly… questionable language of 15-odd years ago, the mastermind of this plan, marketing guru Mike Weaver, was working to mitigate the troubled times by “cultivating new markets…,” he marketed the “Rio to Hispanics and Paris Las Vegas to gay and lesbian travelers.”

*Uncomfortably rushing along to the next section*

The Modern Paris Las Vegas

Of course, times have changed. History can’t stand still even somewhere as magical as the Paris Las Vegas!

In fact, 2010 was a turning point in Paris Las Vegas history. It was the year improvement projects began, stripping the hotel of some of its joie de vivre. Or at least toning down the French theme a bit!

For example, the “French” greeters were removed from the front doors, and in 2011 the massive Chateau nightclub was opened. More recently, Las Vegas’ first rooftop bar and grill was opened at the Paris courtesy of Budweiser (Beer Park, and it’s amazing — see our picture below!), and Hexx Chocolate & Confexxions became the city’s first bean-to-bar chocolate shop. 

A flight of beers at Beer Park on top of The Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Brunch with a view or brunch with a few? You can get both at Beer Park Las Vegas

 

I guess some people go to Las Vegas to get crazy on cocoa? Who doesn’t love a good hot chocolate? Although it’s not so appropriate for the desert — maybe take some home and enjoy it out of one of our Las Vegas Coffee Mugs?!

Though, you’ll have to get it somewhere else as the chocolate shop is now Alexxa’s Bar

And almost everyone swears by Mon Ami Gabi.

Throughout the Paris Las Vegas’ history, the hotel has been party to plenty of film and TV fame. In particular, the mini Eiffel has often been used to represent the real thing. Specifically, destruction of the real thing. (So, maybe it ending up half-sized was good after all, and not just for air traffic control.)

 A few media highlights for the Paris include:

  • Featured in Despicable Me (in animated form, of course).
  • Being destroyed in 2014’s Godzilla.
  • Resident Evil: Extinction — this one was zombies in Vegas!
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gave dinosaurs a chance to enjoy the Paris.

So, it’s unlikely to be forgotten! And clearly, in all end-of-the-world scenarios, there’s still a need for this hotel and casino. Or at least the mini Eiffel Tower part of it. 

Future of the Paris

So, that’s the Paris Las Vegas through history. How about what’s next?

At the moment, the Paris is showing Bat Out of Hell, “a Rocky-Horror, Romeo-and-Juliet celebration of star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of the tracks caught in a city teetering on the brink of disaster.” There are also plenty of shopping opportunities, a piano bar (one of my favorites — way better than the one at Harrahs, in my opinion), and a pool, amongst other attractions. 

And people seem really into the Vanderpump thingy. I’m not so sure what that’s all about. 

It might not be as Parisian anymore, but it’s still an iconic part of Las Vegas history and the strip’s future! Perhaps in time, we’ll see more touches of the city of romance return — or maybe there’s something else in store for the Paris Las Vegas.

After all, it always seems to be pushing the boundaries, even in a town with boundaries as loose as Vegas.