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Regional Agency for Innovation and
Internationalization of Companies
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Regional economy

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Enjoying an exceptional surrounding, the PACA region displays such an attractiveness it has become one of the world’s top tourism destinations.

This attractiveness is also at the root of one of the most important concentrations of intellectual and technological resources in Europe. It takes the form of a powerful economic activity in sectors as varied as telecommunications, microelectronics, digital technology, life sciences, aeronautics and astronautics, sea technologies, multimedia but also the agribusiness, the perfume industry, the chemistry and logistics among the most important ones.

Key data:

Population size

  • Third economic region in France (population and wealth)
  • 15th-richest region in Europe (out of 271)
  • 5 million inhabitants in 2012
  • 90% of the population lives in the four largest metropolises : Marseille, Nice, Toulon and Avignon and also in many medium-sized cities.

Business and employment

  • 1,740 companies with foreign capital, 72,000 jobs
  • 11,3% of business creation in France
  • 15 regional clusters including 10 competitive clusters
  • Sophia Antipolis : First  Science & Technology park in Europe with 1,400 companies and 70 countries represented
  • 26,000 R&D employees including 13,0000 research workers
  • 3rd domestic rank and 6th European rank regarding high-tech patents
  • ICT patents : 3rd domestic rank and 14th European rank

Excellence in education and research

  • 157,000 students including 18,000 foreign students
  • Aix-Marseille, the largest university in France (70,000 students)
  • 22 international schools
  • 2nd region welcoming PhD students with international mobility
  • Annual R&D investment : € 3 billion
  • More than 17,000 research workers

Modes of transport / International connections

Nice, France’s 2nd largest airport (59% international flights) and Marseille, 4th largest airport (including 50% international flights)

Marseille-Fos Port : Europe’s 4th largest port, 3rd world largest oil port

Marseille Provence : France’s largest cruise ships terminal, Mediterranean’s 5th largest harbor and one of the world’s top 15 cruise ship terminals

French Tech : PACA, the “startup region”

French Tech refers to every player in the French startup ecosystem. It is also an innovative public policy, through the French Tech initiative, it supports this collective and startups’ growth. The French Tech initiative stimulates a collective dynamic. It aims to raise France to the rank of a leading “startup nation”. Tomorrow’s leading startups will create jobs and economic value in France.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the startup region ! PACA gathers 4 French Tech areas ( among them , 3 are government approved) out of the 17 French Tech regions :

  • Aix-Marseille French Tech focuses on three issues :  the economy, the regional development and the citizen. The region counts on the leverage and the growth phase brought by the digital sector to the traditional economy and public services to boost its influence and enhance quality of life in the population.
  • The French Riviera French Techdisplays a strong digital ecosystem with interdisciplinary skills and local synergies regarding microelectronics, telecommunications and software
  • Avignon-Provence French Tech Culture, the Golden Triangle of digital culture
  • Toulon Métropole French Tech : the network of digital professionals


2nd European region for tourism carrying capacity

34 million tourists: 1st destination for French tourists, 2nd most visited region by foreign tourists

23% of luxury hotels in France

1st French region by number of second homes

2nd French region by number of events, festivals and shows (Cannes Film Festival and so on)

2nd French region to host professional conventions

More than 400 museums, 10 national and regional parks

Marseille Provence 2013 – The European Capital of Culture

Marseille, European Capital of Sports in 2017