If I had already extensively written about Nantes and La Cité Event Center, I had never actually seen it with my own eyes. The AIPC Annual Conference was the opportunity for me to understand that what they say is true: Nantes is indeed a vibrant, culturally booming second-tier city, with a lot of assets when it comes to hosting associations.
Rémi Dévé reports
The gate to French Brittany, a city both green and blue with hundreds of parks and three rivers, Nantes screams history everywhere your head turns, with the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany or the gothic cathedral for instance. But Nantes might be because it was great at reshaping its industrial landscape through art and culture that it gained international fame. I was there at the opening of the annual summer festival ‘Le Voyage à Nantes’ and I could finally see the well-known elephant of the Machines de l’Ile, and I could definitely touch upon the vibrancy of the destination.
With delegates having to make the most of their stay when out of the office, Nantes may be the place to be. One feature that really stroke me was the fact that everything, I mean literally everything, is at walking distance. If your hotel is in the city centre and your conference at La Cité, the commuting by foot is a mere 15 minutes, and then at night it’s easy to find a restaurant or to catch up on a exhibition in one of the city’s many museums.
No wonder that, with 20 international conventions held in Nantes in 2015, including 11 at la Cité Nantes Events Centre, the Nantes destination has moved to the 126th position in the ICCA rankings, compared to 176th in 2014. And with the opening of the Nantes Saint-Nazaire Convention Bureau in 2015, the region is definitely broadening its international outreach, La Cité being instrumental in getting large-scale events to Nantes.
Talking about La Cité, its international character is no secret. Three auditoriums for up to 2,000 people, 30 breaking rooms and 6,000 sqm of exhibition space, eco-responsible services and the AIPC Quality Standard certification make it an easy place to meet in. And with Nantes named the ‘European Green Capital 2013’, it’s no surprise La Cité is highly involved the destination’s environmental and climate policies. CSR is at the core of its overall strategy, which includes a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and a boosting of in-house green practices.
Stay tuned for what Nantes can offer association planners in the upcoming editions of Headquarters!
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