The regional tourism office organised a seminar designed to help people in the tourism industry to make the most of the internet. It was heled in Nantes, a town that the wife and I have been meaning to visit, and it also included a free visit to the "famous" Mechanical Animals of Nantes, as an added incentive. So we set off early for the seminar, and stayed overnight afterwards.
It has been a long time since I sat through a business conference, and it reminded me how much I dislike them. Not that they're not useful, I just wish there was a better way of getting the information than sitting down for half-day stretches and listening to someone talk.
The conference centre was fancy, perhaps the best-equipped I have been in. A microphone per person, one screen per two people, CCTV, the lot. The morning presentation was interesting, an enthusiastic consultant expounding on the increasing use of social networks (e.g. tripadvisor, facebook) by tourists in selecting places to stay. That reminds me, I must try to get more of our guests writing us up on tripadvisor. (Search for Domaine des Hallais)
Ultimately, I found the day frustrating. The tourism office spent a long time telling us what they had done in 2009, and what they are going to do in 2010, and nothing about what they have achieved nor what they are planning to achieve.
The mechanical animals were something else; huge mechanical contraptions, steam and electric powered, made from wrought iron and plywood. They have a Jules Verne-like victorian air, which is appropriate since Verne was born in Nantes. I especially liked the elephant, and the sense of humour in the little boat. The yellow raincoats on the volunteers in the boat are not for show. They got drenched.