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A Sea of Blue Along the Blue, Blue Sea

 Billionaire Li Jinyuan - Photo by Anne Sliwinski PujalteBillionaire Li Jinyuan – Photo by Anne Sliwinski Pujalte Blue on parade - Photo by Anne Sliwinski PujalteBlue on parade – Photo by Anne Sliwinski PujalteBlue hats and blue shirts - Photo by Anne Sliwinski PujalteBlue on blue - Photo by APBlue on blue – Photo by APOlympics in Paris, 1924 - Paris, FranceOlympics in Paris, 19242015 Cannes Film Festival Poster - Cannes FranceMonaco Grand PrixMonaco Grand Prix

Next week I’m headed to Nice…just because it seemed like a good time to go, without realizing that the city and the entire coast is going to be pulsating with activity…not that it hasn’t been already!

You may have already seen the sea of blue…not the blue sea, but the sea of blue hats and T-shirts worn by 6,400 Chinese employees of 57 year-old billionaire Li Jinyuan’s pharmaceutical company, Tiens Group, who descended on the Côte d’Azur this past week, booking up more than 4,760 rooms in 140 hotels in Cannes and Monaco during a four-day stay in the south of France, while employing 147 buses to transport them around.

The tour was designed as a gift to his staff to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the founding of the company. The employees, in an amazing group effort, formed the largest-ever human chain on Friday spelling out “Tiens’ Dream is Nice on the Côte d’Azur” along the Promenade des Anglais (making a Guinness World Record) and it was a record-breaking single tour group visit for the southern city of Nice.

Nice wasn’t the only city to benefit from the tour — Le Louvre held a private showing for the group, they mass attended a show at the Moulin Rouge and Galeries Lafayette closed its doors to all other shoppers. Thirteen million euros was expected to be spent by the group on the trip, a boost to the struggling French economy, thanks to this and an increase of tourism from China.

Articles about the event claim that “almost 85 million foreigners a year support a €150 billion industry that delivers 7% of the nation’s GDP, according to government figures. In 2013, the vast majority of visitors to France were from other European countries, but about 3.1 million came from the United States and 1.7 million from China.”

Meanwhile, Paris is trying once again to get the bid for the 2024 Olympics and moving closer one century after it hosted the “greatest show on earth.” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is all for it, thanks to the “financial and environmental guarantees provided,” and the benefits from planned infrastructure investments that would improve public transportation in the Paris region.

Paris lost the bid in 2012 to London, when Mayor Hidalgo was deputy mayor. This is her chance to ‘bring it home,’ in competition with Boston and Rome.

From a personal perspective, Paris doesn’t seem like such a good choice, considering that the city rental laws prevent short-term rentals in secondary properties! How on earth will the city accommodate the enormous influx of tourism while thousands of available apartments remain vacant? Or will the owners have no choice, but to rent them on the Black Market at inflated prices? Will big corporations come in to build more hotel rooms while the locals who invested in property suffer?! Madame Hidalgo, get a grip! What are you thinking?

On the Riviera where tourism is so vital, thankfully there is no sign of such rental restrictions. Even though the law can apply to cities of 200,000 or more, Nice has not yet uttered one word about it. Good thing — with so much going on, it would be a serious blow to its economy. The Cannes Film Festival is off and running from this Wednesday, May 13th through the 24th and the week after, the Monaco Grand Prix is kicking off on May 21st (through May 24th).

What a great time to be on the Côte d’Azur (with or without a blue hat and T-shirt)!

A la prochaine,

Adrian Leeds - The Adrian Leeds GroupAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group

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P.S. Take a stand. Help us in our cause to have a voice. Sign our petition called: “Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Paris France: Amend the Paris short-term rental laws and make them fair for all.” Join the cause

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