By Consul Jonathan Warren

Chef Guy Savoy and Chef Alain Ducasse

Les Folies Bergere Las Vegas 1959
Les Folies Bergere Las Vegas 1959
 Louise de Vilmorin​
About John C. Frémont, a fluent Francophone, was the first to
put Las Vegas on the map.
 ​Académie Francophone de Las Vegas is an educational organization promoting French language and culture. Our mission is to promote French language learning and French cultural awareness and interaction in Las Vegas. ​We are a non-profit organization. 

​French culture has had a tremendous influence in Las Vegas since Las Vegas was first placed on the map, generations before the formation of the Las Vegas Strip.  That influence has escalated ever since. John Charles Frémont, was an American military officer and explorer of the American west.  He was first to place Las Vegas on any map, in 1854.  Frémont’s father was a French teacher who had fought on the side of the Royalists in the French revolution, then settled in Georgia, USA French Influence on Las Vegas.

​ The French community in Las Vegas was most notably established in 1925, when Louise de Vilmorin, a Parisian from an aristocratic family and later famed author, moved to Las Vegas.  Here she wrote of the inspirational drive of the people and the extraordinary opportunity of the place. 

The French-speaking Principality of Monaco, the oldest monarchy in Europe, was the first country to establish diplomatic representation in Las Vegas in 1956.  That was when Prince Rainier III appointed the former Husband of Louise de Vilmorin, Henry Leigh Hunt, to the post of Honorary Consul of Monaco in Las Vegas.  Both France and Monaco have consular missions in Las Vegas now. 

Les Folies Bergere Paris, 1893 Les Folies Bergere Las Vegas 1959 Generations later, the spectacular shows of vintage Las Vegas, including Les Folies Bergere, Casino de Paris, Lido de Paris and more were all inspired by their predecessors in France.  Later arrivals such as Crazy Horse Paris at the MGM were direct imports from the City of Light. The first themed casino in Las Vegas, opened in 1942, was (arguably) the Monte Carlo Club on Fremont Street, named for the glamorous casino district established in 1868 in the ancient Principality of Monaco.  

The following decade saw the opening of the south-of-France themed Riviera Hotel, which is presently joined on the Strip by the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino and Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino.  These properties host thousands of guests every day.  A half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower itself crowns the Center Strip at the front of Paris Las Vegas, next to replicas of the Arch de Triomphe and Paris Opera House, of similar scale. Las Vegas Icons Seigfried and Roy got their start in Monte Carlo, where their first big cat act became the stuff of legend when their cheetah left the stage for the kitchen.  They later welcomed HSH Prince Rainier III and then Crown Prince Albert of Monaco to Las Vegas.

Chef Guy Savoy and Chef Alain Ducasse at Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas Cirque Du Soleil is a Las Vegas institution 

Nearly every major hotel in Las Vegas boasts its own show produced by Guy Laliberte’s Cirque de Soleil. Other French Canadians such as Celine Dion are Las Vegas institutions.  

French chefs such as Joel Robuchon, Alain Ducasse and Guy Savoy have based major operations and their largest restaurants in Las Vegas.  Here they join long-time resident gourmet French chefs such as Andre Rochat and Francophone cuisinists and nightclub operators such as Moroccan Victor Drai. 

​As the French population has grown, so too has the population of francophone countries in Africa, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia.  


French Influence in Las Vegas

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