CMW attended the historic opening of Paris’ new convention centre, the largest conference centre in Europe.
Despite a spate of tragic terror incidents in recent years, Paris is looking towards a dynamic future, with the 2024 Olympic Games on the horizon, and events including the Art Paris Art Fair 2018 billed to be bigger than ever. There’s also the prospect of the city holding the World Expo 2025.
All this puts the opening of the new Paris Convention Centre, formerly Pavilion 7 of the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles, into a rich cultural context.
The venue is designed in typical Parisian chic by the Valode and Pistre agency on behalf of operator Viparis. It features 72,000sqm of surface area, a capacity of 35,000 people, and a plenary room of 5,200 seats. Valode and Pistre kept the megastructure of the existing Pavilion 7 of the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles, while refurbishing the insides, as part of a €500m project
Indeed, its future is already shaping up for the MICE market. CMW learnt that the venue already has 15 large scale congresses booked in including the European Association for the Study of the Liver (April 2018 for 11,000), The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) (June 2018, for 8,000), the European Respiratory Society (September 2018, for 22,000) and the European Society of Cardiology (August 2019, for 35,000).
Paris Convention Centre is fully modular and every conference room is furnished with smart and adaptive speakers that offer high-quality sound and create a bespoke acoustic environment for visitors. The Atrium conference rooms, meanwhile, feature connected furniture and the latest audiovisual equipment.
“Paris Convention Centre will be a crown jewel in our efforts to boost the appeal of Paris and the region. The site has been renovated, reimagined and given a new identity to help the Greater Paris region at the top of the meetings and corporate events industry. This sector accounts for €5.5bn (US$6.82bn) in economic benefits for the region and more than €20bn in turnover for exhibitors. With no public financing, Paris Expo Porte de Versailles will become the epicentre of Paris’s ambitions in the field of conferences and trade shows,” says Didier Kling, chair of the Paris Île-de-France Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Paris Convention Center boasts movable partitions creating up to 50 rooms at the venue. For the facade, the architects wanted to open the building onto the city by making it transparent. “The design of the canopies creates a wave, a rhythm that inscribes it in the movement of the park”, said architect Jean Pistre.
The building features a 5,000sqm Park on the top floor and an event space balcony, which overlooks the iconic Eiffel Tower. The project has so far taken two years, but the event CMW attended marked the end of the first phase – out of three – of the restructuring of the Parc des Expositions. The second phase is now launched with the creation of two hotels, including a Novotel.
“The ambition is to make Paris expo a new city district and make it the leading congress site in Europe,” said Christophe Cuvillier, Unibail-Rodamco’s CEO. “We now have the opportunity to welcome very large conferences, which ensures the influence and considerable economic benefits for Paris.”
Paris Convention Centre objectives
Paris Expo Porte de Versailles begun work in 2015. Since then, the renovation has pursued these main objectives, to:
• Modernise the pavilions
• Improve the urban integration of the Park in its environment.
• Simplify logistics flows
• Improve the environmental impact of Park, particularly through the implementation 52,000sqm square of green roofs
• Create a more open park, that is more green, and more fluid
• Create a place of life as much as a business centre
• To make Paris Expo Porte de Versailles a model park and leader in its category
100% French-made sheet metal
500m Euros invested in renovation
72,000sqm green spaces
216,000sqm exhibition space
52,000sqm green roof space
10 years of work as of 2015