National Conference of Midwives – Christophe Cassagne

The 48th edition of the French National Midwives Conference held in the Lille Grand Palais, in the midst of the ongoing health crisis

CERC Congrès is a professional conference organiser, hosting 8 to 14 events per year in the medical and paramedical field in France and Monaco since 1954. Their clients: midwives, paediatric nurses, endocrinologists, gynaecologists, and everything relating to mothers and their children. This year, CERC Congrès has just drawn to a close the 48th edition of the French National Midwives Conference at the Lille Grand Palais, within a very difficult context as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The company benefited from the support and guidance of the Lille Grand Palais teams throughout the entire organisation process.

Interview with Christophe Cassagne, manager of CERC Congrès


The event

The French National Midwives Conference is held every year, in large cities. These are organised by CERC for the French Professional Association of Midwives (the APSF), which aims to keep in tune with its peers, allowing them to benefit from training and discover the latest innovations and theoretical contributions to the profession. This national event is open to all French-speaking midwives. “We offer conference delegates an exhibition space, plenary lectures held in an auditorium or by video, and 20 practical training workshops through which to acquire new techniques, practice what you have learnt, and refresh your knowledge,” outlines Christophe Cassagne.

Why choose Lille – the record-breaking city?

“Lille is known as the record-breaking city, and this is one of our most important national events. Just one hour from Paris and Brussels, Lille allows us to appeal to all French-speaking midwives from France, Belgium, Switzerland and Brussels, and we usually enjoy  high attendance here. The French National Midwives Conferences are regularly held in Lille thanks to its fantastic geographical location and the venue’s capacity. What’s more, it’s a beautiful site – easy to access from the motorway, close to public-transport stations, well connected, and with plenty of nearby hotels,” explains Christophe Cassagne, manager of CERC Congrès.

A good edition, despite the COVID-19 health crisis

Our Lille edition, usually held in May, was postponed to October as a result of the health crisis. In this very complicated context (with COVID-19 and the local curfew), the event hosted around 40 exhibitors and 286 delegates, while more than 600 people attended online video-conferences – compared to our usual 1,500 conference attendees. But in the end, everyone – both delegates and exhibitors – was satisfied. “Of course, it’s a richer experience with 1,500 people, but all things considered, it was a good edition. Everything went to plan, even though were unable to hold the city tour and our gala evening due to the curfew,” he adds.

 Lille Grand Palais health protocol

Our organiser’s exceptional relations with the teams of the Lille Grand Palais made it possible to organise this edition in optimal conditions. “We’ve all suffered the consequences of this crisis, but Lille Grand Palais has made very significant resources available to us in order to comply with sanitary restrictions. These have been followed to the letter: reception desks with plexiglass screens, a host of hydroalcoholic gel dispensers, re-organisation of rooms (with only half of seats occupied), one-way systems throughout the building, efficient service providers for safety and reception, and reminders to wear a mask. This was all very well executed. These measures are part of the Lille Grand Palais’ up-to-date and highly detailed health protocol.”

The invaluable assistance of Lille Grand Palais managing the event, across the board

“We tried to manage organisation as well as possible with the means available at the time. The sales time, the technical teams and the service providers managed the event from start to finish, from preparation to hosting. Upstream, salespeople were very friendly and attentive, seeking to reassure and satisfy us, and offering solutions. It really was exemplary work. On the big day, we received exceptional support from the Lille Grand Palais’ technical teams,” notes Christophe Cassagne.

Exemplary communication

“Despite the situation, we enjoyed almost daily support, keeping us informed of all the measures. A real partnership was created between the Lille Grand Palais and our team. The Lille Grand Palais Sales Department has been exemplary in terms of communication. Their support was excellent. The proof: 1 month later, none of our participants or speakers present in Lille had been infected.”

 The debrief

For Christophe Cassagne: “We have nothing but praise for the great quality of the Lille Grand Palais, one of the most professional sites we know. We have truly felt how the team lives for its establishment, and that’s what I told the Lille Grand Palais Sales Director as we took stock of this 48th edition. We can’t wait to get back as soon as possible – it’s already planned!”