If I had chosen this week for a relaxing break in some warmer winter weather in Cannes, I would be severely unimpressed by now.
Not only has a large proportion of the town (and the bars and restaurants) been taken over by property types, but last night was the France vs Ireland match and the night that Algeria beat Egypt to secure a place in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The streets of Cannes became gridlocked with screaming fans, beeping horns and much flag waving as the Algerian contingent drove through the streets for hours on end.
It didn’t seem to matter whether anyone actually knew anyone else. People sitting in bars would leap up, seemingly entirely spontaneously as the parade went by and jump into the backseat of passing vehicles to join in the celebrations.
And in Morrison’s, Cannes’ Irish pub, it felt as though the entire MAPIC conference was trying to squeeze into one venue to catch a glimpse of the Ireland game up on one of the big screens. “If you want to make contact with the wealthiest developers and investors tonight,” said one agent “don’t bother with the Majestic or the Martinez. They’ll all be in here.”
And he was right. Anyone who was anyone was knocking back the Guinness from Irish developers to Indian investors and a group of Russians wearing some seriously nice looking watch and cuff link combinations.
The French victory meant yet more merriment and celebrations soon joined those of the Algerians and moved onto the street.
The noise levels of the two combined was quite something – especially funneled down those narrow French streets.
By midnight the combination of a male dominated conference, football and beer had added a definite Brits abroad feel to the proceedings. In short, exactly the kind of thing one might come to Cannes to escape from. Sorry holiday-goers.
In true MIPIM/MAPIC style, though everyone was up bright(ish) and breezy this morning ready for day 2 of the conference. My plan today is to listen in on two seminars this afternoon. The first is called Diamond in the rough: The Middle East retail industry and the second is Developers: Is now the right time for central & eastern Europe? I will report back on what was said later today.
Emily did not realise until the next morning that Thierry Henry had resorted to a curling move to dump Ireland out of the World Cup