Val d'Europe, a thriving business district in the shadow of Disneyland Paris

30 years after the opening of DisneyLand Paris, Val d'Europe in the Seine-et-Marne region continues to expand.
The area is home to no fewer than 7,600 companies, including Deloitte, which will be opening one of its main training centers.

At the end of 2023, Deloitte handed over its 22,000 m² campus in Romainvilliers, Seine et Marne, which will be used to train its employees from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The site will feature no fewer than 260 rooms, accommodating 500 executives every week. No fewer than 80 sites across Europe had been studied by the company in recent years: in the end, the commune of 7,200 inhabitants managed to make the difference.

Philippe Descrouet, President of Val d'Europe Agglomération (UDI), sees this as a sign of the attractiveness of his ten-municipality territory. "We've become one of the jewels in the crown of the Ile-de-France region in terms of economic dynamism," says Descrouet, who is also mayor of Serris.

800 locations in the Val d'Europe business district

The former agricultural area has been profoundly transformed since the opening of Disneyland Paris in 1992, growing from 5,000 inhabitants to 55,000 in three decades. In economic terms, a business district has sprung up: more than 7,600 companies are based in Val d'Europe, providing 46,000 jobs. Disney, the department's largest private employer, employs 18,000 people.

Last year, more than 800 companies are said to have set up in the conurbation.

These include heavyweights such as Crédit Agricole Brie Picardie, which we are proud to have supported. More than 400 employees have moved to Chessy.

The Crédit Agricole regional branch, which also covers the Somme and Oise regions, had already opened a gas pedal there in 2019 to help start-ups boost their growth. One of the aims of the new facility, named "Village by CA Brie Picardie", is to encourage them to "develop in the region and feed the regional economic fabric", explains Sylvie Brion, the structure's director.

Val d'Europe is also home to international companies such as Multivac, a German manufacturer of packaging machinery, and TD Synnex, a leading American IT services distributor.

To attract these companies, the region relies on its accessibility: it is served by two RER stations, a TGV train station and the A4 freeway.

Roissy-Charles de-Gaulle airport is a ten-minute train ride away. "For a company, this is a real asset," confirms Jean François Ker Rault, former director of Chessy-based automotive equipment supplier Defta, and vice-president of the Val d'Europe Entrepreneurs' Club, which brings together 200 companies in the area. "This proximity to the airport made it easier for me to travel between the subsidiaries of our ETIfamiliale.

But Val d'Europe doesn't just attract the big names. "The economic fabric is made up mainly of small and medium-sized businesses," points out Patrick Meleo, real estate agent with BAM immobilier and vice-president of the Seine-et-Marne CPME.

With Disneyland Paris, tourism was initially well represented among the region's businesses. The agglomeration worked to diversify the local fabric to avoid dependence on the sector. "With Covid, we had lost 75% of our revenue", emphasizes Philippe Descrouet.

For local businesses, the theme park is a real windfall. Like Le Bon Bocal, a 40-employee company set up in 2016 in Bailly-Romainvilliers, specializing in dishes in glass jars for connected catering and corporate events (sales of 4.5 million euros).

"We did a lot of work with Disney, which was at one time one of our main customers," recalls Julien Icard, co-founder of the SME, which still provides event catering services for the park.

Créalum'in, which has been based in Bailly-Romainvilliers for five years, also counts Disneyland Paris among its customers. This 17-employee company, which specializes in the creation, installation and maintenance of custom lighting fixtures, has, for example, created a light dome for a restaurant on the Marvel Avengers Campus, an area of the park. Currently, the company's teams are working on luminaires for another area dedicated to the film "The Snow Queen".

What about land prices in Val d'Europe?

This attractiveness is reflected in land prices. According to the mayor, "Serris is now the most expensive commune in Seine-et-Marne". Dwellings are selling fast, often as furnished holiday apartments, which are highly sought-after due to their proximity to Disneyland.

"Because of these practices, workers can't live in the commune," complains Philippe Descrouet.
This situation is all the more problematic in an area that promotes the principle of the "quarter-hour city", a concept where facilities and the workplace are located within fifteen minutes of home.

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