France is home to a huge number of casinos, both large and small, and is without a doubt the leader in the European casino scene. France casinos are found throughout the country, including several in Paris, but probably the most prestigious and glamorous are to be found in the south of France, along the famous Riviera, combining beautiful landscapes and fabulous weather with some of the oldest and most historic casinos in Europe. Foreign travelers flock to the south coast for a taste of the high life, and here as elsewhere in the country, casinos form an essential part of the visitor experience.
There are nearly 200 casinos in France, making it the country in Europe with the most such establishments; the largest concentration in any one city, unsurprisingly, is to be found in Paris, where there are eight casinos. The largest casino in Paris is the Cercle Hausmann, which has some 26 tables. However, France casinos are spread throughout the country, reflecting the French love of gambling, and the central role that France has played in the development of casinos (roulette was invented here, as well as blackjack). Additionally, France casinos have an ambience unlike those anywhere else, an elegance and tradition that stands in stark contrast to the somewhat more brash charms of casinos elsewhere, and a world away from the gaudy exuberance of Las Vegas.
Without doubt, the center of French gambling is the Riviera, or Cote D’Azur, on the south coast. The casinos of Cannes, Nice, and Antibes are among the most glamorous in the whole of Europe, and are must-see attractions for anyone visiting this part of the country. The Riviera is famed for its beautiful towns, chic shops, and almost year-round sunshine, which helped it establish itself as one of Europe’s premier winter resorts in times past, though nowadays it is in summer that the region really comes alive. The most famous of all the casinos on the south coast, of course, is the Monte Carlo Casino, which is nearly one hundred and fifty years old. However, it is situated in Monaco, which is not part of France, but an independent principality ruled by the famous Grimaldi family.