Middle Age and before
The story starts in antiquity. Archeologists have found vestiges of Celtic villages around Gif-sur-Yvette and Orsay which seems to date from the fifth century BC. According to historians they were invaded by the Roman Empire. The area was a route between Paris and Chartres. Gif-sur-Yvette became more important in the twelfth century when an abbey was built. A few kilometers from there, in Palaiseau, during the fifth century, the king of Paris named Childebert the First decided to build a castle. Later on, in the seventh century, Pepin le Bref gifted the domain to the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés who sold it around the year 1000. Gif-Sur-Yvette and Palaiseau received their names in the eighteenth century, after the French Revolution.
During the nineteenth century, France developed its railroads. In the 1850s, the stations of Palaiseau-Villebon, Palaiseau and Lozère were built. Meanwhile, in Gif-sur-Yvette, the new owner of the abbey sold it brick by brick. The Gif station was built later on in 1867.
30 years after World War 2, the area welcomed several schools. The first one, in 1975, was the École Supérieure d’Électricité also known as Supélec. Later it became Centrale-Supélec. The second one was built in 1976. The well-known École Polytechnique was located in Paris before.
In the early 2000s, the Paris-Saclay project was created. The Plateau would become a scientific center such as the Silicon Valley in the US. Lots of companies such as Thales, Horiba and EDF established their labs there. They were followed by several schools like SupOptique in 2006, ENSTA in 2012 and ENSAE in 2016. Today Nowadays, 2 more schools have settled on the Plateau de Saclay. The first is the ENS ParisSaclay and the second is Telecom Paris. The latter integrated the IP Paris Association founded in 2019 and gathers the École Polytechniques, ENSTA, ENSAE, Telecom Paris and Telecom Sud-Paris.
The Paris-Saclay project isn’t over yet. To be fair, it should be completed in less than five years. Other schools want to move on the Plateau. For example, Agro-Paritech campus is being built close to Telecom Paris. To welcome the students, residences such as All-Suites Study are being built. However, the present Covid situation tends to delay the process.
About the author
Being a huge fan of Sitcoms, I became quite a couch potato over the years. Consequently, I hardly hang out. I commonly find myself lost wherever I go, even in the Plateau de Saclay where there is only one road. To console myself, I keep thinking that others bear the same burden. I hope that someday this map will help us, the people who lack sense of direction.