When you choose Lyon, you choose one of the most attractive cities in Europe, an international competitor and a gateway to the rest of the world. Each year Lyon attracts an increasing number of businesses with a wealth of talent. Set up your company in the heart of the Rhône-Alpes region, one of Europe’s most thriving regions.

France’s top choice after Paris for business start-ups and relocations, the Lyon urban area is considered by 46% of European decision-makers to be the main rival to the French capital (EY 2015).

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Lyon in figures: discover the potential of this major European economic and demographic center


  • 1.3 million inhabitants in Greater Lyon (INSEE 2010)
  • 2nd largest urban area in France with 2.2 million inhabitants
  • + 0.5% average annual growth (Insee)
    52% of the population was between 25 and 49 years old in 2011 (DIRECCTE)
  • A surface area of 51,500 hectares

 Economic profile

  • 39,543 businesses and institutions
  • 56,000 companies created in the region, including 15,386 created in the Lyon metropolitan area (Metropole de Lyon, 2015)
  • 5 competitiveness clusters (including two world-leading clusters): Lyonbiôpole, Axelera, Lyon Urban Truck & Bus, Minalogic, Techtera
  • #1 region for entrepreneurship in France (outside of Ile de France)
    2nd highest GDP in France (Insee 2013)
  • 2nd largest economic centre in France
  • 467 foreign-capital establishments with over 20 employees representing 52,000 jobs. (CCIR 2015)

 Lyon in the rankings


#1 business-friendly city in France (L’Expansion-L’Express 2014)
Most attractive city in France (PWC 2015)
#1 rival city of Paris according to international investors (EY 2016)
15th most attractive European city for foreign investors (Financial Times-FDI Intelligence/ European Cities and Regions of the Future, 2014)
19th most attractive city in the world for international investment (IBM 2015)


#1 choice among executives who are attracted by the city’s offer in terms of quality of life and dynamic economic environment (APEC 2014)


15th most innovative city in Europe and 30th in the world (Innovation Cities Global Index 2015, 2ThinkNow)


#1 city (after Paris) for its reach and renown in digital technologies (Factory NPA, 2015)


Lyon’s leading companies and fields of excellence

After Paris, Lyon is the first choice city in France for businesses and is considered the future alternative to the French capital according to 60% of the decision-makers interviewed as part of the Ernst & Young 2013 survey. The city is now home to internationally-renowned companies and major decision centers, including:

Numerous fields of excellence make Lyon a major international hub:

International Lyon

Lyon is also a city that is open to the world and receives significant foreign investment.  66% of the businesses which set up in Lyon in 2012 were foreign. The region hosts ¼ of France’s foreign businesses and there are now 1,800 foreign companies in the region, employing 92,000 people in total.

World-renowned organizations have also chosen Lyon as the location for their headquarters:

  • Handicap International
  • OMS
  • CIRC (International Cancer Research Center)
  • Interpol
  • Euronews

Lyon is also a favorite city with foreign students who represent 10% of the student population in Lyon (Grand Lyon 2012) and strengthen the city’s international character.

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