At 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 Europe.

The name
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 Sophia.


History of the area
The 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.

Mr Philippe Vandelli in Valbonne praise the day when the science park settled in the valley.

-It brought both jobs and money. And that´s the most important of everything…

History of Sophia Antipolis
It takes time for visions to become reality. In 1972, the Département des Alpes-Maritimes 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.

Telecom Valley
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.

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