A town of some 35,000 residents in Picardy, Creil is part of a larger agglomeration of four medium-sized towns (also including Nogent-sur-Oise, Montataire and Villers-Saint-Paul) with a combined population of 73,000 inhabitants. Only 35 minutes by train to the North Station in Paris, Creil could initially be viewed as a suburban area of the French capital. In fact, its true identity is quite different. An area surrounded by a green landscape and a number of popular tourist destinations such as Chantilly, with its famous racecourse, Compiègne and Amiens, it is an urban post-industrial agglomeration. Located on the banks of the River Oise, Creil is steeped in a tradition of earthenware production dating back to the 19th century.
Among its advantages are a young, diverse population and an outstanding location at the crossroads of the French railway network, main highways and the River Oise. According to 2010 figures, 65% of Creil’s residents are under 40, 69% of them are economically active and 21% are of foreign nationalities. Another of the town’s advantages is its access to the nearby countryside—notably in the form of the 60,000-hectare Oise Regional Park.
Creil has been undergoing major urban and economic change ever since the industrial crisis of the 70s and is looking for new opportunities. One of these will be the planned high-speed rail connection to Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport. Scheduled to open in 2020, the service will link Amiens with Roissy and make Creil just 20 minutes from France’s major airport.