The American Presence Post in Lyon’s consular district comprises both the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (AURA) and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (BFC) regions. Geographically speaking, it represents almost 25% of France, with an estimated 11 million people (more than 16% of France’s total population) larger than the total population of nearby Switzerland. Two important mountain ranges are found in the region: the Auvergne volcanoes and the Alps.
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes borders Italy and Switzerland. and as an important European economic crossroads, is France’s manufacturing and industrial regional leader. Its capital city, 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 as well as industrial centers. Lyon has the largest number of university students in France after Paris. It ranks first in energy production and second in chemicals, mechanical construction, and the electrical industry. Pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies, information technologies, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnologies are also large economic sectors. The United States is the largest foreign investor in the region with over 800 majority U.S.-owned companies creating over 40,000 jobs!
Lyon is France’s capital of gastronomy. French chef Paul Bocuse opened his first culinary school in Lyon and it is host to the Bocuse d’Or, the world chef championship. It is also the city of the Lumière Brothers, who invented and developed the film industry; the yearly “Lumiere festival”, pays tribute to this legacy through a two-week long international classics film festival.
International institutions such as INTERPOL, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and training center, and Euronews are headquartered in Lyon. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region has a sister region/state relationship with Pennsylvania and a formal sister city relationship with St. Louis, Missouri.
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 bases, world-known mountain sport industries, international campuses 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 its size. Caterpillar, Becton Dickinson, Hewlett-Packard, Tyco, and Oracle are just a few of the firms present. Grenoble has an active sister city relationship with Phoenix (Arizona) and celebrates in 2022 its nomination as « Green European Capital City » for its numerous initiatives for the preservation and improvement of our environment.
Clermont-Ferrand is the fourth largest city in the region and the capital city of the former Auvergne Region. The Michelin firm headquarters are in CF, as well as their innovations and test tracks. Merck has a manufacturing plant in the city, and Dunlop invests in the north of the region. Clermont-Ferrand has a sister city relationship with Norman, Oklahoma.
Major symbol of the Franco-American friendship, the Château de Chavaniac-Lafayette also belongs to the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, with a population of 2.8 millions inhabitants, 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. The city of Besançon is sister-city of Charlottesville in Virginia State.
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is the region of France with the most sites listed as UNESCO world heritage. The Region’s gastronomy is enjoyed and rewarded. The international gastronomy and wine center in Dijon is a cultural project based on the French gastronomic meal, listed as world immaterial heritage. .
The Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region is home to a strong industry and companies recognized around the world. It is also sought after for its traditional know-how and recognized for the food industry and agriculture.