Day 1 – Monday 13th March 2017
After 9 months of preparation, day 1 arrived, though it really was not day 1 as the conference actually commences on the 14th March. The MOFS delegation of myself and our Head of Legal Indemnity and brains behind the trip, Alex Bielinski, met early, 5.30am, at Manchester Airport in anticipation of what we hope will be a good week in Cannes.
BBC Radio 5 Live added to the anticipation on my drive to the airport as they covered the MIPIM conference, though the lady who was interviewed as one of the leaders of the “Northern Powerhouse” was less than convincing as to why this public organisation was attending the conference.
However, airport reached without incident and the transfer flights via Heathrow to Nice also ran like clockwork. It is in baggage reclaim that I suddenly feel concerned, remembering back to the last time I travelled with Alex to an event as arriving at Islay Airport my worst nightmare happened…no bag! The good news this time was that my bag was one of the first off the carousel and Alex’s soon followed. It had been interesting from Heathrow to baggage reclaim as pretty much the whole flight to Nice was populated by the great and the good of the property industry, many of whom commenced their networking on the way to Cannes!
Second hurdle overcome…we did have a hotel room having been gazumped on our first choice. The brochure should probably describe it as functional rather than palatial, but it is certainly within budget and will suffice for the week we are here. Breakfast this morning was typically French and delicious!
Yesterday evening we ventured into Cannes to check out the lie of the land for the conference. We were aided by the offer of a taxi from one of our good clients, Andrew Clarke of DLA Piper. The taxi was sufficiently understated (Monster Truck!) and we arrived in Cannes in style. DLA have chartered a yacht for the week and Andrew, like me, being a “conference virgin” was keen to check out the boat. It was still being prepared, but undeterred, Andrew took Alex and I on board to look around and I must say it was extremely plush!
After some light refreshment, we headed to meet colleagues from Mason Owen & Partners (Simon Bland and Jamie Moffatt) at what I believe is the “go to” place for the conference, Café Roma. This is the “go to” place in my opinion as it is the closest bar to the exit door of the conference venue and property people are not necessarily known for their walking when refreshment is involved!
Having met a few more long standing clients of Mason Owen, we headed for a very understated dinner for the first night and an early night for all in light of the early start required when the real work commences this morning.