Regions

Business in France

Paris

Paris, the capital of France, is home to about 2,3 million Parisians who enjoy the wonders of architecture, art, and a thriving metropolitan culture known all over the world. Although Paris has an intriguingly diverse population it still remains uniquely Paris.

As biggest economic centre in France and being highly connected to all major cities, it’s the ideal location to set up your business. You are close to all the major industry leaders, governmental institutions and the top potential talent of tomorrow.

Not only does Paris have the highest concentration of headquarters of the 500 largest international companies in Europe, it also houses the European Space Agency, the OECD, Unesco, Unicef and Eutelsat. Next to these established businesses, there is a high influx of venture capital for tech start-ups and with European Banking Authority moving to Paris it’s becoming the new financial hub of Europe.

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Paris

Lyon

By choosing to set up your business in Lyon, you are investing in the 2nd largest economic centre in France together with numerous companies like Sanofi Pasteur, IBM and Rhodia, large research centres, foundations and international organisations such as the WHO and Interpol. It is a smart city with expertise in green technologies, creative industries and technical textiles. Above all, it is an internationally recognised hub for innovation because of its 3 sectors of excellence:

  • Life sciences : the biotech sector, which fields of excellence are infectious diseases, oncology and neurosciences, is a world leader in human and animal vaccines and in bacteriological diagnosis. It is also home to the 1st biological production centre in the world.
  • Cleantechnology : Lyon has implemented policies to promote cleantechnology and has started energy transition on a significant scale. It is operating as a trial area, experimenting in fields as diverse as transport, housing, commercial property and even water.
  • Software and digitalindustry : Lyon’s strong culture of entrepreneurship and working together and its ambitious public and private schemes for supporting new projects and ideas make it an ideal location for digital entrepreneurs. A great number of programmes are available to support start ups, such as Lyon and Saint Etienne’s French Tech communities, Big Booster and Lyon Start Box.

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Lyon

Bordeaux

Only 2 hours away from Paris, Bordeaux offers an ideal environment to expand your business. Not only does Bordeaux have a port with a connection to all 5 continents, the city also has a large industrial and logistics platform. More and more businesses are starting in Bordeaux, which increases the employment rate especially in the IT sector.

Sectors that are strongly represented in Bordeaux:

  • Tourism 
  • Healthcare (Agfa Healthcare)
  • Biotechnology (Novaptech)
  • Aeronautics (Thales, Dassault Aviation, Ariane Group, Safran Aircraft Engines)

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Bordeaux

Marseille

With almost nine hundred thousand inhabitants, Marseille is the second-largest port in France and one of the most important ports in Europe and the Mediterranean. In addition, the larger towns in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur are connected to the wide TGV network via Marseille.

As the country’s second-largest city, Marseille contributes well to the national economy. Thanks to its location on the Mediterranean Sea, the city has the opportunity to generate money through maritime activities. Marseille is a multifaceted city with several top sectors.

Sectors that are strongly represented in Marseille:

  • Health-Biotech-Immunology (Innate Pharma, Halio DX)
  • Mechanics (Labex MEC) -Aircraft sector (Airbus Helicopters, Daher)
  • Digital sector (FrenchTech: Jaguar Network, Wiko)
  • Maritime sector (GMA-CGM, Comex)
  • Tourism (Region around Marseille Provence)

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Marseille

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

With a population of about 5 million, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) is the 6th largest region of France. The economy of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur belongs to the middle class of France with a GDP of 155 billion. Although PACA is widely known as a tourism destination there is much more.  The economic success of PACA is due to four elements:

  • Establishment of banks such as Société Générale, BNP Paribas, GE Capital Bank, Fortis, Crédit du Nord, CETELEM, GAN and MAIF make PACA the second financial services region in France.
  • Thanks to France’s largest port (Marseille) and second airport (Nice), PACA is an attractive region for companies in the transport sector and international trade, including CMA-CGM (third largest shipowner in the world), and some Asian shipowners such as APL, OOCL, Hanjing and NYK.
  • PACA has the largest concentration of telecom infrastructure in Southern Europe. France Telecom and Telecom Italia, among others, have offices there.
  • Tourism and cruises are two highly developed sectors in PACA and there is still a lot of room for growth.

Find the latest news about PACA here

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Lille

Lille is named the French heart of Europe. With easy access to Paris, Belgium, London, and the Netherlands, Lille consist of a wide train network and also an airport.

Lille is a known city for its focus on well living but also its young population with 43% under the age of 30.

On the other side, this city is the 1st regional employer with 285,000 employees (INSEE), but also represents 10% of all manufacturing jobs across the country.

This city is a historic industrial power which stive today towards sustainability. Textile is one of the main important sectors of activity that still compete against the effect of globalization. Lille stays a dynamic, institutional, rich city in diversity, education, and effort on sustainability. As a city of the future it also engages with its company to support their activities towards international success. 

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Lille