Sophia Antipolis is a technology park in France. Much of the park falls within the commune of Valbonne, which lies northwest of Antibes and southwest of Nice, France. Gérald Hanning was the consultant advisor to the DATAR for this industrial/scientific complex created in 1970–1984; it houses primarily companies in the fields of computing, electronics, telecommunication, pharmacology and biotechnology. Several institutions of higher learning are also located here, along with the European headquarters of W3C and the ETSI. In the early years, one of the main challenges of Sophia Antipolis was to relate people and to create a sense of community. The "Human Factor" is what was to distinguish the Science and Technology Park in the world as a landmark of science, invention, innovation and research. It was to focus on building an international environment, creating an international community. This means taking into account and improving tenant interaction, networking and cross fertilization of ideas. The concept was that bringing together people from different intellectual horizons and "making" them meet, would bring added value and generate innovation. Many professional clubs were thus launched: The Sophia business angels club, the Sophia Nordic link, Art Sophia, Telecom Valley are just a few.
Aerial view of a company's HQ at Sophia Antipolis
|Etymology: Greek: (σοφία, sophía) (wisdom), Greek: (Ἀντίπολις, antipolis) ("opposite city" from its position on the opposite side of the Var estuary from Nice, also former name of Antibes, part of the technology park)|
|Communes||Antibes, Biot, Mougins, Valbonne, Vallauris|
Sophia Antipolis is named after Sophie Glikman-Toumarkine, the wife of French Senator Pierre Laffitte, founder of the park, and incidentally, Sophia, the Greek word for wisdom, and Antipolis, the ancient (Greek) name of a nearby seaside town Antibes. Many of the roads within the technology park have Greek names. There is a giant sculptured Greek urn as a centre-piece on one of the roundabouts.
Garbejaire, the inner residential communityEdit
The residential community of Garbejaire is located within the technology park. There is a small shopping centre at the heart of Garbejaire with a post office, bakery, restaurants, hairdresser, chemist, Internet cafe, two supermarkets, two hotels within walking distance, and a church. There is a small park with a play area for children. There is also a large communal corporate dining facility that is shared by several companies on the periphery of Garbejaire.
Several bus routes (27 urban routes and 64 school bus routes) cover the vast area of the technology park. The main bus route (Ligne A, formerly known as Ligne 1), that was redesigned in 2020, connects the central bus station of the park (Gare Routière Valbonne - Sophia Antipolis) with Antibes railway station and Juan les Pins, with bus stops at main universities such as Polytech Nice Sophia and SKEMA. Antibes railway station provides access to the Riviera coastal railway (TER Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur) with eastbound trains to Nice, Monaco and Ventimiglia, or westbound trains to Toulon and Marseille.
The technology park also has also special express lines directly connecting the park with neighbouring cities:
- Ligne 230 (Nice - Sophia Antipolis)
- Ligne 232 (St. Laurent du Var - Sophia Antipolis)
- Ligne 530 (Grasse - Sophia Antipolis)
- Ligne 630 (Cannes - Valbonne)
The nearest international airport for the general public is the Nice Côte d'Azur Airport. Passengers travelling through private jets and non-scheduled flights can use the Cannes – Mandelieu Airport as an alternative.
There is a large national park around the technology park and several large villages on the outskirts of this park. Wild boar live within the park and occasionally walk through the technology park and Garbejaire. There is a large community of small bats that become active as soon as it starts to get dark. It is possible to attract the attention of the bats which respond to mimicry and folk dance.
Academic and research institutionsEdit
- European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), the European home of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
- European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
- INRIA, Sophia-Antipolis unit
- Institut Interdisciplinaire d’Intelligence Artificielle - 3iA
- Institut Sophia Agrobiotech - (INRAE/CNRS/UCA)
- Institut Universitaire de Technologie (IUT) Nice-Côte d'Azur - (UCA)
- Laboratoire d'Informatique, Signaux et Systèmes de Sophia Antipolis (I3S) - (CNRS/UCA)
- Mines ParisTech, École Nationale Supérieure de Mines de Paris
- Polytech Nice Sophia, polytechnic school of the University of Côte d'Azur, formerly known as University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis
- Skema Business School, School of Knowledge Economy and Management
Partial list of companies and institutions located within Sophia Antipolis:
- Air France
- Altran Praxis (software house)
- Amadeus, a travel industry IT company
- American Express Global Business Travel
- Arm Holdings
- Ashland Inc.
- Astrium GeoInformation Services
- Cadence Design Systems
- CEVA France - Riviera Waves SAS
- Crossbeam Systems
- CSR plc
- Dassault Systèmes
- Galderma Laboratories
- Hitachi Sophia-Antipolis laboratory
- Icera Semiconductor, now part of Nvidia
- Maxim Integrated
- Micromania Video Game Retailer
- MRL Technology
- NXP Semiconductors
- Pixeet, 360 degree software and mobile hardware solutions, International Center for Advanced Communication
- Renault Software Labs
- Rohm and Haas
- SAP AG, SAP Labs France
- Scaleo chip
- Sigma Orionis SA, the oldest spin-off company of Sophia Antipolis (founded in 1984 by researchers from Mines Paristech)
- Slice Factory
- ST Ericsson
- STMicroelectronics – STNWireless JV.
- Symphony Communication
- Tetra Engineering Europe
- The Next Level
- Triadss Tech Solutions
- Toyota ED2 - Toyota Europe Design Development studio
- TrackInsight - An exchange-traded funds analysis platform
- Valbonne Consulting
- Wall Street Systems
- HiPe Kids
- Cote d'Azur Directory of Organizations for Sophia Antipolis