While French springtime brings familiar rituals like Easter bells and poissons d’avril, the south coast of France offers property professionals their own familiar spring ritual. Every year, in the second week of March, tens of thousands of people from more than100 countries travel to a small town to celebrate the spring. The successful formula is simple – to capture the season’s spirit of optimism and rejuvenation. After a winter’s hibernation, pale property professionals emerge in Cannes blinking at the warm sun. The ritual is called le MIPIM or le marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier.
The confinements and curfews do just feel like a hibernation. As one of the first major French public events cancelled as a result of the rising pandemic, MIPIM 2020 was a significant lockdown milestone. MIPIM 2021 was meant to begin on Tuesday evening – meaning our long hibernation has now lasted exactly 12 months. Initially postponed to June, the event has just been rescheduled to September and in a reduced format. Many are now asking how this curious ritual will survive in a post-mask future.
Any sense of nostalgia about last week’s missing event is naturally about bigger things than a trade fair. MIPIM is a symbol of experience that cannot be replicated on a screen at home. In a single day in Cannes, attendees stimulate all five senses: seeing the bay in the soft morning light, smelling seafood stewing on the beach, touching dozens of cheeks and hundreds of hands, hearing the energetic chatter of a crowd and tasting the chill of a first glass of rosé.