The Côte d’Azur is experiencing a very strong growth of foreign direct investment in its territory, according to a profile of investment-oriented to services, R & D and new technologies.

As a leading region in the fields of research and innovation, the Côte d’Azur offers companies an exceptional potential thanks to a constantly growing pool of expertise, research laboratories of excellence, and professional networks that promote cross-fertilization between companies and universities, SMEs and key accounts, public research and R & D centers.

Among the sectors of excellence:

Tourism Economy

The decision-making centers of the tourism industries find exceptional hospitality conditions on the French Riviera, and a strategic point of anchorage both technologically and geographically. After the Paris region, the Côte d’Azur is the first destination for international business and leisure tourism, it welcomes more than 13 million tourists each year of which 16% are business trips or 130,000 delegates. This excellence in business and leisure tourism, coupled with a high level of expertise in ICTs, makes the Côte d’Azur a favorite area to develop new uses and new services, in e-tourism, but also in the fields of logistics or boating.

Digital Industry

The French Riviera has established itself as a European center of excellence in the field of information and communication technologies, displaying internationally recognized expertise throughout the value chain, from silicon to connected objects. Internationally recognized, Sophia Antipolis, the leading technology park in Europe, attracts world leaders and unicorns like Symphony.

The sector represents 1,740 companies for 25,000 jobs and a turnover of 4.91 billion in 2017.

Health / Life Sciences

Innovation in life sciences and technologies is focused on the Côte d’Azur through public research structured in poles of excellence. The sector, which is at the forefront of oncology, diseases of the central nervous system, nutrition and metabolism, dermatology and ophthalmology, has naturally opened up to e-health by taking advantage of the ICT expertise concentrated at Sophia Antipolis, and finds outlets in the “silver economy” on a Côte d’Azur which offers a fertile ground for conducting clinical studies and experiments.

The sector represents 313 establishments for 11,330 jobs and a turnover of 3.1 billion in 2018.

Aromas and Cosmetics

Born in the sixteenth century with the trend of scented gloves, the aroma and perfume industry has evolved along a vertical integration logic. From the traditional culture of perfume plants, the activity of the Grasse basin has extended to the manufacture of ingredients and the formulation and composition of finished products: perfumes, toilet products, but also detergents, products and food supplements. The region offers an unparalleled concentration of companies producing aromatic ingredients, strongly oriented towards export (70%), which account for more than half of French production and 8% of global turnover.


New technologies related to education services (EdTech), sport (SportTech) or travel (TravelTech) are gaining importance and developing their markets on the French Riviera which offers a connected, innovative ecosystem, ideally located and world tourism place.

Ecotechnologies and green energies

On the Côte d’Azur, ICT and environmental technologies converge in a privileged field of action between Sophia Antipolis, Europe’s leading technology park that works tomorrow’s technologies, and the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis, which links research and innovative companies to invent a smart and sustainable city. The materialization of the territory’s investment in this green economy is the Eco Valley of Nice, an experimental and welcoming site for eco-technology companies.

Smart City

Nice, the fifth largest city in France and in the top 15 of the world’s smart cities, was very early positioned as a “smart and connected city”. Innovation and sustainable development are at the heart of its economic development strategy. Thanks to its numerous Smart City-led initiatives in the area, Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis has strengthened its collaborations with ecosystem players from large industrial groups to local SMEs and start-ups from the French Tech or from the world of research and teaching.

Smart vehicle and new mobility

Composed of automotive players (Renault, Bosch, Mercedes …), major technological players (Orange, Thales, NXP …), green mobility players (Schneider Electric, SAP, Mobendi …), competitive clusters (SAFE Cluster, Capenergies), a research ecosystem (IMREDD, INRIA, Eurecom) and an ideal territory for experimentation, the Côte d’Azur is a fertile land for connected vehicle development.

Directly involved in the development of intelligent and autonomous vehicles of tomorrow, the Côte d’Azur is multiplying its locations and projects such as the Smart Vehicle Côte d’Azur initiative, with the aim of becoming a reference for automotive in Europe.

Initiated at the end of 2017, based on the observation that restructuring in the microelectronics industry has unlocked attractive skills for connected vehicle operators, the Smart Vehicle Côte d’Azur cluster wants to develop an entire ecosystem promoting the deployment of the connected vehicle sector. The initiative is to become a European smart car hub by 2025.

Artificial intelligence

The Côte d’Azur, future hub of the AI? The goal is to establish a real cluster dedicated to AI, for the benefit of research and businesses in the Alpes-Maritimes. Thanks to the academic environment, the training offer and the presence of specialized AI talents, the Côte d’Azur has managed to win the 3AI label in 2019. This Interdisciplinary Institute of Artificial Intelligence (3AI) supported by Université Côte d’Azur, the CNRS and Inria, along with three others in France, is part of the national program for artificial intelligence. In addition, since 2018, Sophia Antipolis is hosting the International Summit dedicated to Artificial Intelligence. An essential event under the sign of innovation and multidisciplinary exchange that brings together local and international AI experts from the world of research, leading companies and startups.

Blue economy, smart port and yachting

Blue Economy represents a sector of importance of the Côte d’Azur economy. All the economic activities related to boating are represented on the Côte d’Azur. The SOUTH region can be proud to be the first region in France in terms of marinas with 60,900 sites spread over 104 seaports which represents 32% of French sites (2015 figures).


The aeronautics and space industry of the Côte d’Azur is structured around world-class companies, subcontractors and specialized companies working in conjunction with major research laboratories and specialized training institutes. Today, more than 23,000 jobs at the Côte d’Azur level are involved in this sector.