In Dubai, a Little Lyon in the Desert?

Travel Blog  •  Joanna Kakissis  •  01.29.08 | 7:07 AM ET

imagePhoto by Raphael Quinet via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Ah, what love (and oil money) can do. They’re fueling the so-called “Lyon-Dubai City” project, which aims to create a mini version of France’s third-largest city in the desert of the United Arab Emirates.

The Central Park-sized Little Lyon is the baby of Dubai entrepreneur Buti Saeed al-Ghandi, who has hired a team to plan for a university, small versions of Lyon’s main museums, homes, offices, cafes, hotels, restaurants and perhaps even a church, writes Elaine Sciolino in The New York Times. The planners are even studying ways to cool the outdoor areas in mini-Lyon so people don’t pass out during dust storms and 105-degree heat.

Mr. Ghandi, who says the real Lyon’s magic helped him reignite his love for his wife on a trip there last year, is dreaming big on this project and his team insists the result won’t be Vegas or Disneyland gauche.

Joanna Kakissis's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, among other publications. A contributor to the World Hum blog, she's currently a Ted Scripps fellow in environmental journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

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