Pioneering Paris EuropeFeaturesRegion

Paris is cemented as a must-see tourist destination, but its new convention centre gives the exhibition crowd a welcome excuse to stop by.

Home to UFI’s headquarters, and renowned the world over for its ravissant charm, the exhibition industry needs little incentive to choose the destination on looks alone. The city, however, has being outmanoeuvred in the great exhibition ‘space race’, with new builds popping up all over central Europe in recent years.

For those fearing the French capital was falling behind, news of Viparis’ new 72,000sqm Paris Convention Centre, part of a project to modernise Paris expo Porte de Versailles, might be the sugar on the crepe for the destination.

Located 15 minutes from the Eiffel Tower, the £358m build, funded by private investment, renovated more than 60 per cent of the existing space, including its outdoor spaces.

Ambitions for the centre are unprecedented in the country’s MICE landscape. “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,” says Didier Kling, chair of the Paris Île-de-France Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“This sector accounts for €5.5bn 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.”

Paris Convention Centre’s goal is to host 75 major events and exhibitions over the next five years. This new venue will help bolster Paris’s influence and image on the world stage, and help the city retain its leading edge in the business tourism market.

The build comes at a time when Paris is looking towards a dynamic future following a spate of high profile terror incidents. The 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is on the horizon, and events including the Art Paris Art Fair 2018 are billed to be bigger than ever. There’s also the prospect of the city holding the World Expo 2025.

Paris is already a big hitter for exhibitions. More than 1,600 events are organised in Paris each year, including more than 400 trade shows open to the general public.

Viparis is very much at the centre of Paris’ exhibition scene, hosting events at ten locations in the Greater Paris region. Some of the best known of these include Paris Motor Show, the Foire de Paris, the International Agriculture Show, Viva Technology and Who’s Next, all of which occur at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles.

Meanwhile, Paris Nord Villepinte, a large convention centre located in Villepinte near Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, encompasses 246,000sqm of space in eight halls. The centre is served by the Parc des Expositions station on the RER B. Its showcase events include Maison et Objets, the Paris Horse Show, Japan Expo, the Paris Air Show, the Weather Festival and the Paris Climate Conference.

For those after a high statement space, Les Salles du Carrousel inside the Louvre and Espace Champerret host events related to well-being and personal and professional development, among other topics. At each event, the Viparis teams promise ‘the best service per square metre’.

A foyer at the space features 1,300sqm and a ceiling height of 4.8m. This impression of size and space is enhanced, on the ceiling, by the presence of undulating and illuminated wood slats. The remains of the Charles V stone wall are in tact at the venue, and bring an air of history to the space.

“Viparis is focused on introducing innovation and flexibility at our sites and bringing them into the digital age. We constantly strive to provide the best service per square metre. Our 75 event goal at Paris Convention Centre over the next five years, including 55 conferences – 15 of which are already booked. This new venue will help bolster Paris’s influence and image on the world stage, and help the city retain its leading edge in the business tourism market,” says Michel Dessolain, CEO of Viparis.
With much to offer already, and far more to come, Paris is taking its rightful place among the exhibition elite once more.

Exhibitions to watch in Paris
Paris Manga & Sci-fi Show
3-4 February
Paris expo Porte de Versailles
The not-to-miss event for manga and science fiction fans

7-11 February 2018
Paris expo Porte de Versailles – Viparis
Exceptional collections

Salon Virtuality
Trade fair, trade show
10 February 2018
104 / Centquatre – 5 rue Curial, Paris
The first Parisian exhibition centre for immersive technology

Art Capital
14-18 February 2018
Nef du Grand Palais – Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris
2,000 artists to discover at the great art fair Art

International Agricultural Show
24 February – 4 March 2018
Paris expo Porte de Versailles – Viparis
This event showcases livestock, terroir products and regional gastronomy

Paris Tattoo Convention
9-11 March 2018
Grande Halle de La Villette – Parc de la Villette
The meeting point for the amateurs and professionals of the world of tattooing

Livre Paris
16-19 March 2018
Paris expo Porte de Versailles – Viparis
The readers’ rendezvous

The Paris Convention Centre in stats
The new Paris Convention Center, formerly pavilion 7 of the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles, was designed by the Valode and Pistre agency on behalf of Viparis. It is now the largest convention centre in Europe.

The venue 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 part of a €500m project.

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. The event 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.

View the feature in the latest edition of Exhibition World, here.

Tom Hall

Editor, Exhibition World