24 Hours in Paris
My trip to Paris was hosted by GL Events and Eurostar, both had planned a busy 24 hours for us to experience and see as much of Paris as we could. The trip started at London St Pancras where the group met up and went to the business class lounge before boarding the Eurostar.
On board the train we all took part in a perfume workshop lead by a representative from the Fragonard museum. This idea, of having an activity for your group to experience on board the train, is still in its trial period and will be rolling out to other routes shortly. The workshops will differ depending on your destination, for instance, on the route to Brussels you will be able to book a chocolate workshop. These workshops are a fun way to get your group to have a shared experience prior to your arrival, it also helps to pass the travel time! During the perfume workshop, you learn about the history of the Fragonard brand, you start by smelling a selection of fragrances, learning about how they came to choose their new fragrances for this year and by the end of the workshop you then get to create your own perfume to bottle up and take away with you.
We stayed at the newly opened Hoxton Hotel near the centre of the city. The hotel has a beautiful lobby that looks more like a courtyard than a hotel, and you instantly get the feeling of being in a home away from home in its open and relaxed atmosphere. The venue has a number of meeting rooms that all have their own AV and share a communal kitchen.
We travelled around Paris via sidecars – if you have time I would highly recommend this fun way of travelling around the city. Retro Tour Paris has 14 motorbikes in total and can take 2 passengers in each. The drivers are all dressed in retro leathers and helmets and provide a fun way to view the history of Paris. You can switch between sitting in the sidecar and being on the back of the motorbike – the two positions give you a different perception of the streets and historical buildings that you will be driving through.
The Maison De La Mutualite is another fantastic venue that can offer a wide variety of event spaces that can be adapted to your needs. Whatever the event this is a unique venue that can cater for groups of 10 right up to 2000 people. Along with the modern interior meeting spaces, they also have two event spaces that offer something different for you. One of the internal spaces is actually in the middle of the hollow building providing an outdoor space surrounded by meeting rooms – it is tough to imagine I know – but it does offer a unique feel of being inside when you are not. The second area that is highly sought after is the rooftop terrace, the space that is regularly booked out for private events offers panoramic views of the old and new skyline of Paris and a direct view above Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Brongniart Palace stands in the Vivienne district and is rich in history – the building was originally built as a landmark and as a place for men to consolidate all of their market activities, which was something that had not been done before. Throughout the building, you can read plaques and view photos of the history and activities that once took place in the building. Bring this forward to modern day and the rooms and various spaces have been utilised to their full potential allowing companies to host conferences, general meetings, seminars, exhibitions and receptions in one of Paris’ most historic buildings.
Tucked to the side of this architectural giant is an Asian Fusion restaurant called Spoon 2 – offering a warm and inviting place for you to have a private lunch or dinner. The food is authentic, and the presentation makes it almost too pretty to eat.
Our final stop before heading back to the newly refurbished business lounge at Guard De North was the Fragonard Museum. I have never been to a perfume museum, so I did not know what to expect during my visit. The museum offers private event spaces that can be used for cocktail drinks receptions, can be set up as a meeting space or used for team building. The museum offers a masterclass on perfume making and allows you to create your own perfume – this is the same class that we were able to do on the train to Paris so there are various ways you can take part in this if you wish to. The museum tour takes you through the history of how perfume is made and also shows you how the simple bottle of perfume was used over the centuries by both men and women.