Real Estate lawyers - beware the £1,000 fish, and the true meaning of MIPIM … (literally)

14th March 2023

Written by Scott Gibson

Delighted to be back for MIPIM in sunny Cannes after a two-year covid-induced absence.

As I was leaving the house yesterday with my suitcase, my youngest son asked me where I was going. I replied – “I’m off to MIPIM” – (for the unschooled, a real estate industry junket in Cannes which is nearly as popular with lawyers as it is with real estate folks) and he replied, “is that the £1000 fish place?” … not quite, but my now-teenage son was referring to a story (famous in my house at least) for a trip I took to MIPIM some years back…

After interminable travel delays, I arrived at my accommodation, just outside Cannes – late. Having missed my dinner booking, I hurried out for an impromptu supper with a client at a charming, but otherwise unremarkable, waterside eatery. Mindful of MIPIM’s historic reputation as being something akin to a weeklong hedonistic frat party, I was determined to start the week healthily – so I ordered “poisson du jour”, which even my schoolboy French informed me was “fish of the day”. I am not sure what species of fish I ordered – I remember it being white, flaky and truly delicious. Of course, in true Gallic culinary tradition, it was smothered in butter – so I am doubtful that my pescatarian dinner choice provided quite the low-calorie, low cholesterol start to the week I had envisaged. Still, it was an excellent meal – good food, good wine, good company and by the end, I was even getting over the post-traumatic stress of my fraught journey.

I can’t remember what the total bill came to, but I do remember that my single poisson du jour, which did not include any sides, was €260 (at the time just under US$300) – and that was back in the days when US$300 was a lot of money for a fish! Entirely my fault of course – the fish was priced per gram in Euros. The sort of thing that, if I was on holiday in Greece, and if it was lobster, I might have spotted through some basic mental arithmetic …

What’s interesting is that, whilst in my household “MIPIM” clearly means “The £1000 fish place”, in all the years I have been coming to Cannes I have yet to meet a single attendee who knows what the acronym “MIPIM” stands for. Whilst it is true that my own MIPIM clique consists almost exclusively of English-speaking lawyers, I have often spoken to German, Dutch and French non-lawyer attendees and, after a few wide off the mark guesses, they invariably admit to being just as baffled!

… So, the answer to the question you didn’t know you cared about, and which I confidently predict will be of zero practical use to you (whether you are a lawyer, real estate type, or otherwise), is…

... Le Marché International des Professionnels de L’immobilier

Who knew!
To read Scott’s original LinkedIn post on this, click here.

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