The Seine Valley

A space of strategic importance for the attractiveness and economic development of the country as a whole
The Seine Valley traces a line from the global city of Paris to the ocean, linking together Paris, Rouen, Le Havre and the dynamic regions of Normandy and Ile-de-France. This economic, social and cultural corridor, opening onto the sea and then to the rest of the world, is a very special area that enhances national prestige in the eyes of Europe and of the world as a whole.
The Seine Valley is a unifying link between Ile-de-France and Normandy. It counts some 15 million inhabitants and 7 million jobs, includes large conurbations, gives structure to a dense network of urban units and represents an essential link that opens up the "global city" of Paris up to the sea. This interregional territory is both coherent and genuinely original at both European and global levels. It is a strategic space with great development potential thanks to its (maritime and river) ports and logistics facilities, which are indispensable to be a part of the globalised economy, its research and innovation activities, its dynamic and diverse economy, and also its rich natural, historic and artistic heritage. 
One of the major assets of the Seine Valley is that it is a key industrial basin, providing opportunities for testing out industrial ecology and the circular economy. Its economic vitality is driven by the wide variety of industries present in the area: digital technologies, logistics, chemicals and health, aeronautics and space, agribusiness, energy and waste recycling, which generate nearly a third of national GDP. Organising port and logistics activities here is therefore a key issue, as is preserving and enhancing the rich natural, cultural and historic heritage that have forged the identity of this vast area. The Seine Valley offers exceptional, internationally renowned tourist sites (Le Havre UNESCO world heritage, the Normandy of the Impressionists…).
The challenge is to bring coherence to this vast strategic space, reconciling development and economic, urban and industrial activities, with the preservation and enhancement of the culture, environment and landscape of the Seine Valley. 
The Strategic Blueprint for the Planning and Development of the Seine Valley and the State-Region Interregional Planning Contract (CPIER) 
The advantages of the Seine Valley, in terms of the economy and industry as well as of culture, tourism and the environment, are driving forces for developing the appeal of the area. Activities directly linked to the river, transport, freight, logistics and tourism form the basis for this development through a renewed strategy supported by all the stakeholders at all levels. 
Following on from the reflection on "Greater Paris" initiated by Antoine Grumbach in 2009, the cities and urban authorities of Caen, Le Havre, Rouen, the Seine-Aval area in Île-de-France and Paris wished to work together on developing the Seine Valley. This desire has led to a genuine shared ambition and to the involvement of all the stakeholders along the Seine Axis, in particular the State, local authorities, economic players, ports and Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The government identified the development of this area as an issue of national interest by a decree issued on 22 April 2013. The aim is to unite Normandy and Ile-de-France around several shared challenges:
- Strengthening the maritime and river port network

- Organising a high-performance multimodal logistics system

- Consolidating interregional industrial sectors

- Strengthening cooperation within higher education, tourism and culture

- Using a densely inhabited space as effectively as possible  

The Inter-Ministerial Delegation for the Development of the Seine Valley (DIDVS) and the Haute-Normandie, Basse-Normandie and Ile-de-France regions have co-produced the Strategic Blueprint that sets out the key directions for planning and economic development through to 2030.
Operational implementation of the Strategic Blueprint strategies is supported by a "Seine Valley" State-Region Interregional Planning Contract (CPIER), signed on 25 June 2015 and covering the 2015-2020 period.

The CPIER develops an overall strategy, organised around 3 key areas:
1- Management of space and sustainable development

2- Controlling flows and travel

3- Economic development, higher education, and research

The area's six urban planning agencies – APUR, AURH, AUCAME, AUDAS, IAU-IDF and AURBSE - have accompanied this process from the beginning and have formalised their partnership through various publications and by signing a cooperation charter in November 2014.


HAROPA, the Seine Axis port alliance

The development of the Seine Valley is closely linked to the strength of its river and maritime port activities. The Seine connects Ile-de-France and Champagne to the North Sea and is the most used waterway in France, with over 20 million tons of merchandise passing through every year. A major gateway to France, the Seine Valley links two powerful maritime ports and the world’s leading river port in the tourism sector. Driven by this potential, the ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris decided to establish closer collaboration by founding the HAROPA port network in 2012, the first French port group, with a volume of activity that places it in the Top 5 North European ports with more than 91 million tons in 2015

Under the terms of the port reforms adopted in 2008, the three major ports along the Seine (Le Grand Port Maritime du Havre, Le Grand Port Maritime de Rouen and the Port Autonome de Paris) decided to extend their collaboration by forming the "HAROPA" Economic Interest Grouping (EIG) on 16 January 2012. The economic interest grouping handles those functions concerned with port development: strategy, industrial development and commercial communication, networks and land access.
HAROPA's goal is to contribute to making the Seine Axis a major European logistics system that is competitive and sustainable, serving businesses in the region. This should boost employment and added value and is an integral part of the measures to develop the Seine Valley area. 

HAROPA is a gateway to the world and a powerhouse of the regional economy, all at the same time, and is striving to achieve a twofold objective: to switch European supply chain activities to the Seine Axis by serving a very wide French and European hinterland, and also to provide alternative, high-volume, durable solutions to regional stakeholders. The aim of the first objective is to establish the Seine Axis ports on the global playing field and contribute to our country's competitiveness. The second gives HAROPA a major role in establishing regional supply chains.  

The "Reinvent the Seine" call for innovative proposals

In order to contribute to the dynamics of the area, drawing inspiration from the "Reinvent Paris" experience, the City of Paris, Rouen Normandy Metropolitan Area, and Urban Community of Le Havre have decided to organise a call for innovative proposals for the Seine-Axis area.

The "Reinvent the Seine" call for proposals consists in proposing sites along the Seine Axis to occupy, use, rent or buy for the implementation of innovative projects. This multi-site approach is designed to contribute to revealing and structuring the Seine Axis: the local authorities and ports of the Seine Axis are therefore challenging architects, entrepreneurs and artists, among others, to invent new ways of living, working and travelling on and beside the water, making use of the various sites. The river and innovation will thus play their part in inventing the great city of the 21st century, stretching from Paris to Le Havre, by way of Rouen.

As part of the implementation of the Strategic Blueprint for Planning and Development of the Seine Valley, a certification process has been adopted in order to support the experiments. The goal of establishing the Seine Valley's own label is to raise its profile and make it more visible both within the territory and from the outside. The "Reinvent the Seine" call for proposals has been awarded the "Vallée de Seine" (Seine Valley) label.