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This Is How It’s Done: France, je t’aime

Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is called passion. Teamed up with our dear Sylvie and Audrey from SB MICE Consulting, we owned Belgrade this April and hopefully managed to convey some good local vibes! Many thanks to all the French agents for the lovely opportunity to meet & share some DMC Vekol signature experiences! We truly hope they received a warm welcome, enjoyed some spring fun and made lasting memories during this joint venture of ours. Chevaliers, you will be missed!

But lets take it from the beginning: did you know that the ancient site where Belgrade fortress now lies is considered to be one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, dating back to the 7000 BC? The story of Belgrade through its glorious past intrigues and reveals just how modern Belgrade emerged as it rediscovered its confidence! Among other landmarks, here you will find The Monument of Gratitude to France – as a token of appreciation for military and health aid from French people during and after the World War I. Nowadays it also makes a remarkable photo spot. 

Moving on, not many people can brag about tasting food created by a Chef that designed plates for Barack Obama, The Rolling Stones, Prince of Whales and numerous Hollywood A-listers and celebrities, but our agents are now one of them. Meet Eyck Zimmer – one of the greatest names in modern haute cuisine in the world. Awarded mellieur ouvrier de Grande Bretagne and a Michelin star in Berlin. After Ritz London, Eyck is now a Culinary Director at Square 9 – Belgrade’s luxuries property, literally 20-years down the road in hotel fashion. Oh, and did we forget to say that food is his religion and he was born to cook (no plan B)?

Moving on, at the most elegant lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of natural light we encounter General Manager Nicolaas Houwert (who happens to speak perfect French) to greet us upon arrival to Hilton Belgrade – arguably the best conference hotel in town!

MY NAME IS POPOV, AGENT POPOV.

In 2002, files charting the secret life of spies to serve British interests as far back as World War II have finally been released for public. There was only one appropriate code-name for a playboy agent who had a penchant for ménage a trois: Dušan Popov. Born into a wealthy Yugoslavian family in 1912, Popov was in his life prime at the outset of World War II. Arrested by the German Gestapo several times for advocating democrasy, he was finally recruited by MI6 to run as a double-agent between 1940 and 1944. Communicating by wireless, invisible ink postcards and a special code of microdots, for the course of the WWII he fed the Nazis such a convincing trail of information that they considered him their “best man in Britain”, while all the time he was truly aligned with the official UK. 

Needless to say, Popov became the real-life agent on which Fleming’s brainchild James Bond was based, after the director was embarrassed by the spy at a local casino. Fleming was at the time working for the British Navy and had been arrogantly showing off his money. Popov allegedly put $50,000 on the table – around 10 times more than people’s annual earnings in the ‘40s – shaming Fleming and forcing him to withdraw from the table in disgrace.

Now. Serbia is a country that doesn’t do mild and driving is no exception. To simply say Serbs are obsessed with cars would probably be an understatement. To us, cars are fun, empowering, fierce and just about enough dangerous, at a time when modern society almost conspires to take all the little thrills away from us in a thousand subtle ways. This is why we created a one-of-a-kind 007 Porsche experience for our agents – 

A wine expert. There’s one at every party. You know the person: they usually have a small crowd around them who listen with rapt admiration as they swirl and sniff their wine and go into great detail about grape variety, tannin, and the best wine regions in the world. Part of you will roll your eyes, but another part will be envious of their talent. Face it: everyone wishes they knew a little bit more about wine. There is something inherently dignified and sophisticated about being a wine connoisseur. And there is no one better to teach you than Balkan Champion Vuk Vuletić.

Surrounded by forest-draped suburbs of Belgrade, this gorgeous real estate is the residence of Serbian royal family. Built in neo-byzantine style, the court sits surrounded by lavish gardens designed by Édouard François André – the master ladscape architect and Director of Parks in Versailles. Name a more iconic place to grab a true royal lunch!

Merci de votre confiance nos amis! À la prochaine!

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