Mayor Nutter Visits Paris For Business Development Trip

Kate Tocci, for GPA -- On July 24, Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter arrived in Paris along with several city business leaders to meet with the mayor of Paris, various French businesses and professional cycling executives to promote the city of Philadelphia in a number of capacities. This six-day business development trip strives to publicize Philadelphia as a global and modern city—one that is world renowned for tourism and profitable for businesses.

“[Philadelphia is] one of the most visited cities in the country, supported by excellent access to air, rail and highway transportation. We have experienced huge growth in the number of young, educated people who want to live and work in our city — twice the national average of 25 to 34-year-olds living in Center City and its surrounding neighborhoods — and that is driving more businesses to move to Philadelphia to access that talent. As Mayor, I welcome foreign investment and interest in our great city and look forward to strengthening Philadelphia’s ties with cities and businesses in France,” stated Mayor Michael Nutter, quoted in a press release from the city of Philadelphia.

In Mayor Nutter’s meeting with Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, the two discussed climate change, a bike share program, student exchanges and jobs, according to a tweet from Mayor Nutter’s twitter account on Thursday.

Mayor Nutter and First Lady Lisa Nutter also toured Vélib’, the public bicycle sharing system in Paris and its surrounding areas. The third largest program in the world, Vélib’, is operated by JCDeceaux Group and encompasses over 14,000 bikes and 1,200 stations. Philadelphia plans to launch its own bike-share system in 2015, and the Mayor will discuss with Vélib’ executives the best methods for successfully operating such a program.

Mayor and First Lady Nutter were invited to be spectators at Le Tour de France. Their attendance will enhance Philadelphia’s already strong reputation as a leading sports and cycling city, drawing the attention of international athletes, specifically women. The City’s Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, one of the largest cycling races in the United States, is one of the few to offer equal prizes to women and men, an objective Lisa Nutter worked to achieve as First Lady of Philadelphia.

During their time in France, Mayor Nutter will meet the President of Union Cycliste Internationale, Brian Cookson, to discuss the possibility for Philadelphia to participate in the Women’s World Cup Cycling event in 2015. France has additionally created La Course by Le Tour de France, a women’s cycling competition that will finish ahead of its all-male counterpart.

The Mayor will also meet with Pierre André de Chalendar, the Chairman and CEO of Saint-Gobain, the world’s leading building materials company. Saint-Gobain employs more than 1,300 people in the Philadelphia area and has plans to create a new North American corporate headquarters in Malvern. Saint-Gobain has a strong relationship with Philadelphia and has previously partnered with the city on its STEM education coalition and on the YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School project to sustainably renovate the nonprofit’s first location in the region.

“As Saint-Gobain approaches its 350th anniversary, we are looking forward to Philadelphia serving as our flagship city in North America as we commemorate 15 generations of innovation. There is no mistaking the architectural influence Paris has had on Philadelphia, and today I am honored to meet Mayor Michael A. Nutter and show him not only Paris’ architectural icons, but our appreciation for the equally remarkable city of Philadelphia and its influence on our company’s history and success,” said Pierre-André de Chalendar, quoted in the city-issued press release.

The six days in France will allow Philadelphia to reconnect with its current French partners and establish new relationships with discussions on business ideas, world issues, sports initiatives and other global projects. Philadelphia is currently an observer member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, and with the City’s work to become a voting member of OWHC, further partnerships with Paris, a voting member since 1991, would be beneficial for Philadelphia’s reputation in the global playing field.

“As one of our country’s premier cities, Philadelphia also has a growing reputation on the world stage,” said Mayor Nutter.

Philadelphia is evidently committed to establishing and reaffirming these international partnerships in business, sports, World Heritage and more.

Photo courtesy of Mayor Anne Hidalgo's Twitter account.