Baden-Baden is quite proud of its casino, Germany's oldest, opened in 1855 after Parisian interior decorators and artists polished the last chandelier. Its concession to the times is that you may wear your jeans amid all the frescoes, stucco, and porcelain (but why would you?). Gentlemen must wear a jacket and tie with their jeans, but whatever you do, leave your sneakers at the hotel. If you don't have a jacket and tie, one will be provided for a minimal charge. In 1853
a Parisian, Jacques Bénazet, persuaded the sleepy little Black Forest spa to build gambling rooms to enliven its evenings. The result was a series of richly decorated gaming rooms in which even an emperor could feel at home—and did. Kaiser Wilhelm I was a regular visitor, as was his chancellor, Bismarck. The Russian novelist Dostoyevsky, the Aga Khan, and Marlene Dietrich all patronized the place. The minimum stake is €2; maximum, €7,000. Passports are necessary as proof of identity. Guided tours (25 minutes) are offered in English, on request.