legacy to continue to build their place in history. The terroirs and wines of Dom Pérignon, Château d Yquem and Château Cheval Blanc are made to stand the test of time. Belmond, the prestige hotel group with which we signed an acquisition agreement in 2018, also boasts fantastic properties, names and places that dreams are made of, including Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Cipriani, and Copacabana. But the dreams that LVMH inspires do not only pay tribute to the past. We also know how to invent the future, starting afresh with entirely new projects like the hugely successful cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, which burst onto the scene just two years ago.
Another factor behind the power and performance of our Group is the talent and passion of our teams: around the world, employees at our Maisons are all driven by the same commitment. Designers, artisans, executives, store managers, researchers These are the Group s lifeblood. Our decentralized organization means that we can attract and retain the best talent, encouraging our employees to give free rein to their entrepreneurial spirit. In 2018 we also stepped up our collaborations with startups, which are sources of inspiration for us. As well as taking part in Viva Technology and organizing the LVMH Innovation Award, we launched La Maison des Startups LVMH at Station F, the world s biggest startup incubator. Working alongside startups helps keep us up to date with the latest innovations. In-house development programs allow our most inventive employees to turn their new ideas into concrete projects. It is in this richly diverse entrepreneurial environ- ment, bringing together different generations, backgrounds and perspectives, that our people are giving shape to the LVMH of tomorrow.
LVMH S DEEP ROOTS IN FRANCE
Another reason why LVMH can continue to expand, allowing its Maisons to carry on inspiring dreams, is that we have always prepared for the future: year after year we consolidate our foundations, laying the groundwork for new developments. In 2018 our Group ramped up its production capacity to meet ever-growing demand. The bulk of our investment was in France. After opening production workshops in Allier in 2017 and in Vendée in 2018, Louis Vuitton inaugurated a new facility in Maine-et-Loire in early 2019 the Maison s 16th in France and will open two more in the coming months. Construction also continues at Veuve Clicquot s new production site near Reims. The renovation project for La Samaritaine is well underway and its beautifully refurbished or newly created façades are gradually being revealed ahead of its opening, planned for 2020. Maintaining the desirability of our products therefore goes hand in hand with constant improvements in our production methods and our expert craftsmanship. Mastering this expertise is something we cherish: it ensures that our professions endure and that jobs can be created everywhere we operate. Naturally, we are pleased with and take pride in our results. But, most of all, we are proud of our Group s deep roots in the French economy and in regions across France through the investments it makes, the jobs it creates year after year, and its contribution to cultural life in Paris. In 2018, LVMH hired more than 13,000 people in France. We also crossed a symbolic threshold in 2018, investing over 1 billion in France. In addition, the Fondation Louis Vuitton has welcomed over 5 million visitors since it opened, and the Jardin d Acclimatation reopened in 2018, after an extensive makeover. We are therefore proud of LVMH s significant contribution to France s economic development and cultural influence. Most of our products are made in France, carrying names beyond its borders, each one evoking the French art de vivre in the dreams of billions of women and men around the world.