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Hotel CaliforniaParis Champs-Elysees16, rue de Berri - 75008 PARISVirtual tour: number: 00 33 1 44 95 96 59 - Email: Just off the Champs-Elysees- 174 bedrooms and suites- 7 meeting rooms, 4 of them with naturaldaylight for groups up to 110 personsinternet free of charge in all conference rooms- A central courtyard- A restaurant "Le Cadre d'Or"- A lounge piano bar "Rouge Marine"with 150 varieties of whiskies- A fitness center- Free internet connectionGDS CODESAMADEUSWW PARCALAPOLLO/GALILEO WW 58274SABREWW 25040 WORLDSPANWW PARCA

March 2011Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.net17The city on the Seine has revisited its venue infrastructure. Sarah O'Donnellexamines whether Paris hassucceeded in reinventing that certain je ne sais quoi for its international conference and meetings offerand put the romance back into business events this Spring. Still loving meetings?Although Paris is one of the mosticonic cities in the world, withcountless film noir pictures set in itsbourgeois cafes and cobblestone streets, itsmeetings industry realises it can rely onromantic, superficial beauty no longer. The need to keep up with its modernEuropean meeting competitors, such asBarcelona, Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt andLondon, is all too certain and Paris hasrecently upped its game with newinfrastructure and initiatives. The city is a strong draw card for businesstourism with Europe's largest and theworld's second largest concentration ofFortune 500 companies and Europe'ssecond largest financial market. According to economic research groupCushman and Wakefield's 21st EuropeanCities Monitor study, Paris was voted thesecond most attractive city for business inEurope for 2010. The report surveyed 500European companies' senior executives andwas published in October 2010. London, Paris and Frankfurt remained thetop three cities for business, stated thereport. Key factors which influenced thisranking included easy access to markets,customers or clients; availability of qualitystaff; quality of communications andtransport links internally and internationally. The French capital retains its second topposition behind London as best known cityin Europe, and the 2010 report found it hadmoved ahead of Prague into fifth position asthe city doing the most to improve itself. ViParis is one of the largest conventionand exhibition centre management groupsin France after it recently brought togetherunder one brand a large share of the venuemarket. It is currently is refurbishing itsvenues. The group owns 10 in the Parisregion out of a total of 18, and hosts anaverage of 150 conventions and 1,000corporate events each year. The latest major investment the groupmade was the entire renovation of the Cnit,a convention centre located in the businessdistrict, La Defence. It is also renovating apavilion at the Porte de Versailles exhibitioncentre. The Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibitionand Convention Centre launched its newevent space a few months ago and this yearthe group will focus on the renovation of theParis Congress Centre. "Our sales department was re-organised afew months ago by the creation of abusiness development department," said theDevelopment Director for ViParis, FlorentJoncquiert Latarjet. "In terms of corporateevents, 2010 came close to the healthy levelof 2008 and 2011 looks promising despiteshort lead times, with international eventson the increase."For conventions, 2011 is set to be a recordyear for the group with the hosting of newcongresses, including the European Societyof Cardiology for 30,000 delegates at ParisNord Villepinte and the InternationalCongress of Alzheimer's Disease (6,500delegates) at Porte de Versailles. Further developments in infrastructureinclude Le Royal Monceau hotel, whichrecently reopened its doors following a two-year refurbishment by French designerCITY FOCUS????Photo courtesy of Paris Tourist Office / Amelie DupontZibrant ran an incentive trip to paris toreward its operations team. It wastailored to create a unique experienceof Paris. Any warnings for organisers hostingan event in the city? Traffic in Paris can be particularly busyand you will need to factor in plenty oftime for transfers. If you are partying orclubbing in the city, don't forget to book- getting into good clubs is difficult.Any recommendations?We had a pleasant lunch at Ladurée,which is good for smaller groups of upto 30 delegates and it's great to seewhere macaroons originate.Take a helicopter trip from Paris toVersailles; it is a fabulous way to seethe city with views of Eiffel Tower, Arcde Triomphe, La Defense district andthe Versailles Palace. Once inVersailles go to Gordon Ramsayrestaurant, au Trianon. If helicoptersaren't your thing, what better way toexperience the French capital than in an iconic French Citröen 2CV. Wetoured around the city in a myriad ofcoloured 2CVs with Parisian studentsdriving and acting as our tour guides. Fay Sharpe, MD ofevents agency Zibrant