Meet the Member: Mathilde Bernard, Executive Director, Sud de France
March 18, 2019
The FACC is pleased to welcome Mathilde Bernard, Executive Director, U.S. Branch at Sud de France to our network. Keep reading to learn more about the activities of Sud de France and how they promote the products ,businesses and destinations of the Occitanie Region in France
FACC: Sud de France Development promotes the Occitanie/ Mediterranean Pyrenees region in the south of France, promoting regional destinations and business export. This is a very large goal, especially in terms of the U.S. market where competition is important. How do you ensure that your work is impactful? Do you have a strategy of corporate partnerships, events, publicity, working with other local or French organizations?
MB: As the agency of economic development for the Occitanie region, our first goal is to help our companies to understand the US market and to export their products and services. That is why we are called La Maison de la Région Occitanie! We want our companies to feel like a home in the US far from the region.
To do so, we organize personalized events to prospect, to promote our brand Sud de France and to educate the American stakeholders and consumers to the richness of the Occitanie Region. We constantly work with our network in various sectors : wine, food, high-tech, etc. Our brand Sud de France helps us to ensure partnerships with locals and French organizations such as the FACC, Sommelier Society of America, Cultural Services of the French Consulate, FIAF, WNET Thirteen, etc.
FACC: Occitanie is known for wine production, among other specialties. Sud de France has built an online platform where producers and buyers can connect directly. Do you have any insight into how many users are active or the amount of business this has generated? Are wine producers of all sizes and types represented, AOC, grands crus etc.?
MB: Since 2014, the Sud de France Winehub platform gathered more than 650 producers from the Occitanie Region showcasing 3,570 wines. On the buyers side, it represents more than 1,200 registered from 51 countries. Over the years, almost 2 million of bottles have been requested and 3,600 contacts established. Sud de France Winehub gathers different profiles, small and big producers, AOCs or IGPs, the idea is to have various type of products to give a large choice to our American and Canadian buyers.
FACC: For tourism, Paris is a more well-known and romanticized destination for Americans, however the Occitanie region has some equally impressive cultural and natural offerings. What is one “off the beaten path” destination that you would recommend and why?
MB: The Occitanie Region is one of the most diverse destinations in term of monuments, museums, hotels, restaurant but also vineyards. In the region, you can visit 8 UNESCO monument sites: Pont du Gard, Cité de Carcassonne, Causses and Cévennes, Le Canal du Midi, Episcopal city of Albi, Fortifications of Vauban, Cirque of Gavarnie-Mont Perdu and The Way of Saint James.
However, there are many other sites not as famous as these monuments that are worth the visit such as the Catalan Country and the Canigou Mountain, Toulouse called also La Ville Rose (The Pink City), Rocamadour and Dordogne Valley, Les Gorges du Tarn, Collioure and La Cote Vermeille, etc. All of these places represent a different part of the history of France. An history that you won’t find it in Paris or in Normandy. The history in Occitanie has the more remains than any other part of France regarding the Roman occupation for example and I truly think it is captivating.
I invite you to discover them with the following link: https://www.tourism-occitanie.co.uk/all-grands-sites-occitanie-top-occitania-sites
FACC: For Francophones in New York, where can they enjoy the delicacies of the Occitanie region in the city?
MB: Our Sud de France wines are all over New York, carried by various wine stores and restaurants. You can find them under different appellations: Côtes du Languedoc, Côtes du Roussillon, Gaillac, Cahors, etc. Occitanie’s gastronomic products are available in different restaurants and gourmet stores such as Le District, French Cheese Board, O’Cabanon, Jubilée and many more.
FACC: Do you participate in any cultural festivals for the public or more in the B2B sector?
MB: Of course! We stay in touch with the New York crowd with events like Bastille Day organized by FIAF and wine tastings with many other organizations. However our main focus is the B2B sector, for 10 years we have been participating in various trade shows and professional events in our main development sectors. Coming up, our participation to Wine on Wheels and Fancy Food Show. Most importantly we are going to celebrate La Maison de la Region Occitanie’s 10 year-anniversary in May. Stay Tuned!
Interested in connecting with Mathilde? Log into the FACC Member Directory.
Visit the Sud de France showroom at our upcoming New Member Social on April 4th. The Sud de France office and showroom is available to host a variety of events. For inquiries, please contact Mathilde for more information.