Larger Than Life

27th November 2017

Conferences and meetings are not just events organized in venues. Their impacts, whether on a scientific, social, economic and sometimes cultural level, are always greater than they are. A city like Paris may have understood this better than any other. With the opening, last week, of the Paris Convention Centre, the largest in Europe, it will attract even larger conferences and radiate like never before. Words Rémi Dévé

Paris Convention Centre in numbers

The new Centre is part of a large-scale renovation effort that will turn the Paris expo Porte de Versailles into an open space open to everybody. Located just 15 minutes from the Eiffel Tower, it features a main conference room for up to 5,200 people, directly connected to 44,000 sqm of exhibition space and is ideal for very large international conferences of up to 35,000 attendees. Its gardens, terrace and rooftop event space can accommodate up to 1,000 people, and features an exceptional view of Paris. The building has been given a new façade of undulating glass surfaces that open up the space the lobby is lit with daylight, like most of its meeting rooms and, unusually, its plenary hall.

Viparis, which manages the ten main meeting venues in the Paris-Ile-de-France region, had arranged a very special press trip on the occasion of the inauguration of Paris Convention Centre. It was not only about the new centre itself – even though the tour of the new facility with its highly modular hall of 25,000 sqm under an immense glassroof was quite impressive – it was also about showing the excellence of the region in many sectors, its key industries and, hence, its attraction to European and international associations.

In this context, the visit of NeuroSpin, a cutting-edge research centre in Saclay, was an eye-opener. The fastest growing scientific and technological cluster located 20 kms south of Paris, close to Versailles, Saclay is an educational hub with global reach, housing 15% of French public research from major research institutions like CEA, CNRS, INRA, and universities. There we were treated with an exclusive viewing of the giant magnet weighing 130 metric tons and the core component of the most powerful MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanner in the world to be used for human brain imaging. To make such a powerful magnet, CEA research engineers had to design an instrument larger than any other.

Camilla Andersson, Forum Coordinator at the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, said: The FENS Forum has established itself as the largest Neuroscience event in Europe. Taking place in even years, it usually attracts more than 6000 international delegates. In 2022, we have chosen Paris as our host destination because it’s a major player in the field, with a strong network of scientists, partners and collaborators, and literally dozens of research centres across the Ile-de-France region. We aim to promote excellence in neuroscience research in Europe at large and facilitate the exchange of knowledge – in this regard, Paris seems to be the ideal place to do so.

With the holding of the Olympics in 2024 and the unified effort that was deployed to win the bid to host the Games, it seems like something is happening in Paris. A metropolis with a human feel, where mobility is the priority, and all stakeholders involved in organising conferences seem to be on the same page, working hand in hand to make any kind of event a success, Paris has never been more ready to be a major player on the global scene.

More info on the venues managed by Viparis: /

(Photo: Paris Convention Centre, the day of its inauguration, on 22 November 2017)

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