Its casino industry dwarfs Las Vegas, thanks to millions of Chinese gamblers. But will its luck hold?
Slide open the drawer beside your hotel bed and, in many cities, you will find a Gideon’s bible. In Macau you discover a small, neat, plastic-wrapped totem of another faith: a brand new deck of cards. Even when you have closed your curtains to the blazing neon, the casinos are with you in spirit. Each year, millions of visitors, rich and poor, make the pilgrimage from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. The wealthy elite are helicoptered in. Factory workers arrive on cramped coaches. Their temples have names such as the City of Dreams and Babylon; the congregations are growing.
You’ll find some of the world’s very best restaurants in Paris. Food writer Alexander Lobrano selects the best of the best, with a galaxy of Michelin stars between them
• As featured in our Paris city guide
Anyone wanting a grand-slam experience of Gallic gastronomic grandeur won’t do better than the glamorous dining room at the Hotel Meurice in the heart of the city. Though it was redecorated by Philippe Starck several years ago, it’s good French bones survived intact – mosaic floor, crystal chandeliers, heavy damask curtains at the windows overlooking the Tuileries Gardens across the street – and the magnificent space is animated by old-school but friendly service that’s as precise as a minuette. Chef Yannick Alléno bagged a third Michelin star in 2007, and his brilliantly inventive cooking is based on a deep knowledge of classical Escoffier vintage culinary technique. In addition to such recent creations as crispy green ravioli with a fricassee of snails and wild garlic, a starter, and spit-roasted red-wine marinated pigeon with red cabbage and apple juice, Alléno has become a dedicated locavore by occasionally featuring rare produce from the Ile de France – cabbage from Pontoise, honey from hives on the roof of Paris’s Opéra Garnier – on his regularly evolving menu.
• 228 rue de Rivoli, 1st, + 33 1 44 58 10 10, lemeurice.com. Métro: Tuileries. Open for lunch and dinner from Mon-Fri. Average €200. Jackets compulsory at dinner