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The national agency for the promotion of tourism in France, Atout France recently teamed up with Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau and Paris Region Tourism Board for the 13th edition of the Rendez-Vous en France travel market. From March 27-28, more than 900 tour operators from 69 countries gathered at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, meeting with 750 professionals representing tourism boards, agencies, hotels, restaurants, transportation providers and cultural institutions across France.
At this year’s Rendez-vous en France, one of the most visible trends was the rise of immersive experiences — all-encompassing exhibits and shows that span the range from the educational and cultural to the world of pure entertainment. The conference also revealed plans for 2019, which will celebrate the Loire Valley and the 500th anniversary of the birth of the French Renaissance.
A good example of a fully immersive educational experience can be found in the latest developments from Nausicaa National Sea Centre. A UNESCO Center of Excellence for education and the marine environment, Nausicaa is located in the northern coastal city of Boulogne-Sur-Mer and has already attracted more than 16 million visitors in the past 26 years. Now, a recent expansion transforms Nausicaa’s existing space into Europe’s largest aquarium, opening to the public on May 19. With its new Journey on the High Seas experience, the center offers visitors the rare chance to become even more immersed in an oceanic environment, with a new 2.6-million-gallon tank and an additional 20,000 sea creatures on view.
Meanwhile, an immersive experience of a different kind can be found at the new Atelier des Lumieres in Paris, part of the Culturespaces consortium that also includes the private Jacquemart-Andree Museum. Rather than just bringing guests face-to-face with hanging paintings by Old Masters, however, Atelier des Lumieres actually puts visitors inside works of art with 360-degree projections. Since April 13, a trio of digital exhibitions is continually projected in a former metal-casting factory in the 11th arrondissement. These include an installation featuring the works of Austrian painter Gustave Klimt, as well as those by Austrian-born New Zealand artist and architect, Friednsreich Hundertwasser. A contemporary performance piece called Poetic_Ai from the independent Istanbul-based creative new media agency Ouchhh rounds out the high-tech spectacles at Atelier des Lumieres.
The bourgeoning world of immersion extends to live entertainment as well. Beginning Oct. 2, the famed Folies Bergere cabaret in Paris will host a groundbreaking new production based on the world of French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Equal parts fashion show and musical revue, the aptly-titled Fashion Freak Show will feature actors, musicians, and dancers in a circus-inspired extravaganza that tells the life story of one of France’s most beloved fashion icons — with costumes by the maestro himself, of course.
Finally, in addition to several highly anticipated immersive experiences, Rendez-Vous en France also unveiled plans for 2019, focusing on the region of the Loire Valley, in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of the construction of Chateau of Chambord, the birth of Catherine de’ Medici in Florence and the death of Leonardo da Vinci at Amboise. Ongoing celebrations throughout 2019 will focus on French cultural heritage, including the worlds of art, literature, music, architecture, technology and gastronomy. And in keeping with current trends, audiences can expect a fully immersive digital exhibition next year in the Loire Valley, too.
The DetailsAtout Franceus.france.fr
Rendez-Vous en Francewww.rendezvousenfrance.pro