A dynamic, political, administrative, financial, cultural and educative capital; 80% of the residents of Paris are employed in the tertiary sector. The city brings together a concentration of political institutions, embassies, administrative headquarters, international organisations (OCDE, Unesco, corporate headquarters (especially around the Champs Elysées, Opera and Bourse). ), Europe’s second biggest stock exchange after London, prestigious universités, and notable tourist centres (Disneyland), 40% of the employment in the greater Paris region is found within the city walls, with only 23% of the population.

Efforts to decentralise have seen a great many jobs move out to Defense, the satellite towns or elsewhere in the greater Paris region (administrative centres, corporate headquarters, big schools like the Polytechnique or the Centrale…), or out of the region entirely (ENA). In spite of decentralisation and an extensive modern public transport network, traffic jams in the capital due to commuting remain considerable.

One of the characteristics that Paris has retained since the time of the monarchy is a strong sociological and economic contrast between the east and the west of the city. This phenomenon arose in Paris for the same reason it arose on London; the wealthier inhabitants had no desire to subject themselves to the city’s cloud of factory smoke, which was carried towards the east by prevailing winds. In fact the very beginning of the east-west divide dates back to Henri IV’s choice of the Louvre as his residence, back in the early 16th century. The royal court followed the king to that part of the city and had great mansions constructed in the Saint-Honoré area. The focus moved to Saint-Germain near the end of the 17th century, as it was on the road to Versailles.

Overall, there is an overrepresentation of qualified workers in the city’s population. The percentage of executives, professionals, artists, students and researchers is greater than the 3.4% of the workforce that they make up.
Paris remains attractive and competitive for business. In 2003, businesses in the capital numbered 301,000 (of which 22,658 were new businesses, an increase of 2.11% from 2002). For every business that closes, 1.41% new businesses are created. The attraction of Paris is demonstrated that much more by the city’s status as the point of reference for the organisation of international events, shows, conventions…

In order to maintain this image, the Paris Development Agency works for the economic promotion of the city as well as for the emergence of new competitive industries, particularly in the sectors of digital technology, health and design. It acts to welcome and advise foreign companies that want to establish a presence in Paris. The agency recently published figures related to its “public incubators”, which are structures that host young businesses and offer them non-profit services. Out of the 168 projects that the agency has dealt with to date, 116 new businesses have been created, which represents a success rate of 69% and the creation of 799 jobs. After this creation phase, businesses can develop on their own or benefit from business “nurseries”, such as (Paris Biopark, Paris Cyber Village).

The agency also organises events: their Matinales have become an important monthly meeting for business creators to find and exchange information; then there is the grand prize for innovation, which is awarded each year to a project judged to have great potential. Last year, the prize went to a company called Léosphère, for their production of technology for measuring air quality. The two brothers at the origins of the company have now installed their business in the Paris Innovation nursery. They signed their first contract in October 2004. During a business trip to China to promote their new technology, the brothers observed that the positive international image of Paris helped the credibility of their project. Other organisations, such as the business incubator, Boutique de Gestion (Management Shop) or indeed the Maisons du Développement Economique et de l’Emploi (Houses of Economic and Employment Development), exist to help people interested in starting a new business in any sector.

Information on Paris and its development.

Information on starting a business, the Maisons du Développement Economique et de l’Emploi and Boutiques de Gestion can be found on the ECONOMIE DE PARIS website.

The Parisian budget for 2005 is essentially based on three areas: social emergencies, access to lodgings and employment, and the fight against inequality. It is a budget that has given an important place to investment, increasing by 34% from 2004.