I was surprised and ecstatic when I received the amazing invitation to attend a luxury event in Paris to be hosted by Accor France for a couple of days. I was greeted at Paris CDG by a lovely driver in a very comfortable car and we arrived at the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel in less than an hour.
As I was much later than the other attendees who arrived by Eurostar, I unfortunately missed the welcome lunch but they sorted me out with a lunch bag and I had about 45 minutes to eat and freshen up before the interactive activity.
I headed up to my 5th floor room and stepped inside – what a beautiful room! And with a balcony, I stepped out and was greeted with the most breath-taking view, the Eiffel Tower! I couldn’t believe my luck!
The group split into two, one group went off to create their own perfume scents which would later be posted to their home addresses. The second group (mine) was in met at reception and we headed out to see a line of classic motorcycles with side cars. We were off out with Retro Tours! We paired off, grabbed a helmet and I jumped straight into a sidecar. The drivers were full of knowledge about the beautiful city of Paris and we had so much fun! We stopped half way at a boutique Champagne store for a tasting with cheese & meats, a fantastic interlude! We all swapped over and headed back through the streets of Paris. The guys were brilliant and I couldn’t recommend them enough, they even offer the experience to the public and were actually featured on Channel’s 4 Travel Man!
We arrived back at the hotel with around an hour to get ready for our dinner and tour of Pullman Paris Centre Bercy, this hotel had only been open for a couple of weeks after a refurbishment of the informal areas including a cinema room and DJ nights! The hotel offered us a lovely champagne reception and hand massage station, something I had never seen before but it worked so well and was a real treat. The restaurant was cleared out and we had stands of canapes/bowl foods/cheeses/meats/wines and cocktails – it gave a good opportunity to network with the other agencies attending this amazing trip but also other local hoteliers that we would have a chance to speak with further in our one to one meetings the following day.
Friday started fairly early as we jumped on a bus for a tour which included two site visits – the first was Pullman Paris La Defense, it has 382 rooms, 10 meetings rooms with a mixture of larger spaces and fixed boardrooms. All boasting natural daylight and AV included. We even had the opportunity to get onto the roof of the building and enjoy the views of Paris! We then spoke with the personally requested pastry chef of the hotel – Ricardo. Back on the bus, the tour continued, we passed the convention station where they are building a train station which will take just 8 minutes for delegates arriving by Eurostar (due to be completed in 2022, ready to host the Olympic games in 2024)
We then headed over to Sofitel Paris Arc De Triomphe, it has 148 rooms, 5 meetings rooms and amazing restaurant/bar area which can be privatised. I loved the decor of this hotel, it was classic and tasteful. The presentation was amazing and during the show-round they had hidden treats to add to our goodie-bag along the way, finishing at the largest suite which they had food and drinks prepared for us. What a clever touch!
The Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg, located in the high end fashion district of Paris, was our lunch and forum hosts. We grabbed a drink and were whisked off for a brief show-round. They took us into the entry standard bedroom where they had a member of their team posing as a famous fashion expert, sat in a robe enjoying her breakfast and then to a suite where they had another two members posing with a glass of champagne – it was different and something I’ll never forget! The hotel has 148 beds and a beautiful open lobby.
All the site visits were unique, imaginative and well presented – a definite highlight of the trip for me! We had some lunch and lucky draw began where a few people were gifted with two night stays in various luxury locations (unfortunately I was not one of these lucky few!) The 1:1 meetings were 9 minutes long with a minute to find our next table, split between two rooms so it meant a lot of back and forth! It was brilliant to hear about some of the creative and unique things other French venues can offer!
We had plenty time to get ready for our Gala Dinner and a bus whisked us off to Potel & Chabot venue – Pavillon Kleber. We were poured a glass of champagne as we entered the room which was laid out with canape stands and flower décor, we networked here until sitting for dinner. We then had a surprise activity arranged for us which was open-top classic car tours, kitted out with blankets for us but it was still FREEZING! We saw a few of the sites and our guide was genuinely passionate about this city which made the tour one of my trip highlights.
Saturday was at our leisure, I have been to Paris the year before and the one thing I didn’t get to do was visit the Catacombs – bit of a strange experience but it was so interesting and I’m really glad I went. I ended up getting there by scooter, they have them all over the city where you download the app, scan the scooter and off you go! It was so much fun and a lot quicker and easier than the metro or buses! I scooted around the beautiful Eiffel tower, grabbed some lunch and headed back to the hotel for my 3pm transfer to start my journey home.
Overall, I feel so honoured and lucky to have been given the opportunity to visit this beautiful city again, it is truly my favourite city in the world and the view from my room alone is something I will never forget! I’ve learned so much about Paris and various other cities as a destination and can’t wait to put it forward to our clients in the future.