the end of the sixties senator Pierre Laffitte, then Director of the
prestigious “Ecole des Mines” in Paris, together with a
group of scientists and other key figures decided to create a city of
learning, science and technology in the area of Valbonne north of Cannes.
The aims were to create and develop an economic centre focusing on high
technology so that Provence-Alpes-Maritimes-Côte d`Azur region
could become one of the major centres of economic development in Southern
The name Sophia Antipolis derives from the Greek ”sophus”
meaning wise, clever, and intelligent. Antipolis is the Ancient Greek
name for Antibes, which is just a few kilometres to the south, it can
also be described as ”the anti-city”. The name of France’s
first science part encapsulates the role of the complex, which is to
be ”an international city of wisdom, science and technology”.
By the way, Pierre Laffitte’s wife at the time being was named
of the area
area where Sophia Antipolis is situated has been an important region
far back in history. In the middle Ages this was an important European
trading centre. Up to the middle of the twentieth century the area remained
principally a farming area. The olive and wine provided the main crops
along with the rose and the jasmine, which were used to make perfume.
During the last two centuries tourism has been a key factor for development.
The creation of Sophia Antipolis represents the most radical change
in modern time.
Before Sophia Antipolis we only had grapes and olive trees here.
Philippe Vandelli in Valbonne praise the day when the science
park settled in the valley.
brought both jobs and money. And that´s the most important
History of Sophia Antipolis
It takes time for visions to become reality. In 1972, the Département
set up the organisation SYMIVAL (SYndicate MIxte pour l’aménagement
et l’Equipment du Plateau de VALbonne), which became largely responsible
for the activity. In 1974, the first company, Franlab, moved to Sophia
Antipolis. In 1988, in order to cope better with the rapid growth of
the park, the
local management modified the administrative structure and the body
with political responsibility, handed over the control of operations
to a semi-public company S.A.E.M. The organisations partners are the
Regional Council of the Alpes-Maritimes, and the Chamber of Commerce
and industry of Nice – Côte d’ Àzur. Since
1990, Sophia has grown at an average of four percent annually.
Sophia Antipolis is a part of the “telecom valley”, which
reaches regroups about 70 member companies and represents over 10000
jobs. The telecom from Milan to Valencia. The telecom valley association
was founded by a non-profit organisation. Since the beginning in the
early nineties the telecom valley association has grown and now provides
a unique expertise in the field of telecom and IT development. The association
benefits from the unique expertise and synergy of its members and from
the rich exchange of The information taking place locally within the
fields of Research and Education with Sophia Antipolis as the true hub.