The worlds of history, culture, sport and business collided last Thursday night at the glamourous opening of the Rugby World Cup in the sensational setting of the Palais de Versailles. After a private tour of the palace, where we learned its last and most famous occupant King Louis XIV invited daily delegations of his many counts and noblemen across the nation to charm and influence them to remain loyal to his throne and to the nation. Its stuck me that today this magnificent palace is being used in much the same way to seduce and inspire foreign diplomats, investors and visitors on the attractiveness of Paris as a place and France as a leading business location.
We heard a very persuasive business case involving presentations from Madame Valérie Pécresse, President of the Paris Region, Madame Alexandra Dublanche Chair of Choose Paris Region and Lionel Grotto CEO of Choose Paris Region about how the city is transforming itself into a tech champion (10,000 start ups) and finance powerhouse (5,500 new fintech jobs since 2020), overtaking London and other leading capitals in terms of foreign investment, start-ups, international events and visitor attraction with 50m tourists. President Macron’s reforms of labour laws, taxes and progressive social and environmental policies have transformed France and Paris’ competitiveness as a location to live, work and visit.
By hosting the coveted Rugby World Cup, Choose Paris Region will use the spectacle to showcase to the world the investments in infrastructure, technology and connectivity that make this city so special and memorable. The Grand Paris Express providing 200km of additional rail/metro network and the forthcoming Olympic Games are the 2 biggest infrastructure projects in France.
As Madame Pécresse remarked rugby is a violent game but takes it intelligence to win. The same can be said of FDI attraction!
After the speeches we enjoyed the culinary marvels of Chef Alan Ducasse on the splendid terrace overlooking the gardens in the company of international CEOs, visiting diplomats and local businesses. What a night to remember. And a victory for France in their tough opening match against the All Blacks. Formidable.