APP Lyon’s consular district comprises Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, geographically almost 25% of France and, with an estimated 15 million people, more than 16% of its total population.
Lyon is the capital of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, a region that borders Italy and Switzerland and lies in proximity to Germany. An important European economic crossroads, Auvergne- Rhône-Alpes is France’s manufacturing and industrial leader, and Lyon is France’s second largest metropole and commercial center. The region benefits from the presence of top universities and trade schools, research and technology centers, and industrial centers, and Lyon has the largest number of university students in France outside of Paris. It ranks first in energy production and second in chemicals, mechanical construction, and the electrical industry. Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology are also important sectors. The United States is the largest foreign investor in the region, taking advantage of numerous suppliers and the intellectual capital trained at the region’s universities. Over 800 majority U.S.-owned companies exist in the region (with roughly half having over 50 employees), creating over 40,000 jobs.
International institutions such as INTERPOL, some branches of the World Health Organization – such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer – and Euronews are headquartered in Lyon. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region has a sister region/state relationship with Pennsylvania, which has a local representative based in the city, and exchanges exist between Lyon and Philadelphia. A formal sister city relationship also exists with St. Louis. Lyon also has an international partnership with Boston.
Grenoble, Saint-Etienne, and Clermont-Ferrand are the largest cities in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region outside of Lyon. Grenoble’s world-class research institutes, high-technology industrial base, and plentiful suppliers have attracted as much U.S. investment (ranked first in the city) and American citizen residents as Lyon, even though it is half the size. Caterpillar, Becton Dickinson, Hewlett-Packard, Tyco, and Oracle are just a few of the firms present. Grenoble has a sister city relationship with Phoenix.
Clermont-Ferrand is the fourth largest city in the region and the capital of the former Auvergne region. Merck has a manufacturing plant in the city, and Dunlop has an investment in the north of the region. Michelin has its headquarters in the city and manages an international school to which many of its American employees send their children. Clermont-Ferrand has a sister city relationship with Norman, Oklahoma.
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, with a population of 2.8 million, specializes in agricultural products such as wine, Dijon mustard, and a variety of cheeses, all of which are popular exports to the United States. Manufacturers such as GE Power, John Deere, Peugeot, and Alstom have strong presences in the former Franche-Comté region. Dijon, which has a sister city relationship with Dallas, is the region’s capital.