Meylan is a town of around 18,000 people, covering 1232 hectares, in the Isère department of France, a few kilometres to the east of Grenoble. In the Gresivaudan valley, it is bordered to the north by the Massif of Chartreuse and dominated by the Saint Enard. Across the valley it faces the Belledonne. The inhabitants of Meylan are known as Meylannais.
The name derives from a large farm that was established in Gallo-Roman times on the ‘middle ground’ which now corresponds to several communities on the right bank of the Isère river, including modern Meylan. In the Middle Ages, Meylan was a small rural village and remained so for hundreds of years. During this time it was the site of the church serving four communities totalling 300 souls (Saint-Mury, la Bâtie, le Bouquéron et Meylan). By 1790 the population had risen to 1122 residents and it had become the principal town of the district, where large landowners and peasants farmed together. This agricultural lifestyle, based on growing cereals, hemp and vines, lasted right up to the 1950s, and the beginning of the urbanisation process. By 1970 the population had reached 10,000 and in order to facilitate further growth in the area, an association of local businessmen and elected councillors were allowed to create a ZIRST (Zone pour l’Innovation et les Réalisations Scientifiques et Techniques) in the town. This business park is now called the Inovallée (Innovation Centre).
Today the commune has 6 nursery schools, 6 primary schools, and 3 secondary schools.
Meylan is also benefits from a local television station, TéléGrenoble (you can watch this on http://www.telegrenoble.net/) and the Hexagone Theatre, a joint project between Meylan and central government. The theatre’s role is to provide a venue for local contemporary cultural events but also to attract artists with a national recognition.
The stunning mountainous scenery in the area is in sharp contrast to the rolling hills and gentle valleys of South Oxfordshire but both towns lie in areas with a long history of high energy physics research, which prompted the first twinning overtures.