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Saint-Étienne is a city in the central eastern part of France, 60 km (40 miles) southwest of Lyon, in the Rhône-Alpes region. Saint-Étienne is the prefecture (capital) of the Loire Department. It is in the Massif Central.


The city is on the Furan or Furens River, at the foot of the Pilat Massif. It is around 59 km (37 miles) southwest of Lyon and 53 km (33 miles) from Vienne.


A legend states that in Roman times, it was a settlement with the name Furanum, from the name of the Furan River. The name was then changed to Furania, a name it would keep until the Middle Ages.

The first written traces of the city's history date to 1258 when the town was called Sancti Stephani de Furano after Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne in French).

The town, known for its arms industry, was briefly renamed Armeville or Commune d'Armes (Arms Town) during the French Revolution.

Saint-Étienne was a long secondary town, less influential administratively and politically than Montbrison or Feurs, which was the prefecture of the Loire Department. It was only in 1855 that Saint-Étienne became the prefecture of the Loire Department due to its rapid industrial development and population growth.

However, Saint-Étienne had been an important center for metalworking since the 15th century. Weapons manufacture was predominant with of production of blades transitioning into production of firearms at the time of the Italian Wars of King Francis I. Small metalwork was also present, though, and the manufacture of ribbons and trim also developed in the 16th century.

During the industrial revolution, Saint-Étienne developed heavy metalworking and extensive exploitation of coal mining.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the local arms industry was dominated by the military production of the Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne (Saint-Étienne Arms Works or MAS) and the Manufacture française d'armes et cycles (French Arms and Cycle Works), or Manufrance, as well as numerous small manufacturers of civilian firearms. Despite the closure of Manufrance many of the small manufacturers remained.

The first railroad in France was laid in Saint-Étienne starting in 1823. It linked the Saint-Étienne with Andrézieux to transport coal from the mines along the Loire River. A second line was constructed between Saint-Étienne and Lyon to transport freight and passengers.

The city was affected by the Allied Bombing of France on May 26, 1944.

After economic difficulties in the 1980s, the city is now in full recovery.

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

Map of Saint-Étienne

By plane[edit]

By train[edit]

Saint-Etienne has four train stations:

  • Châteaucreux (main stations of Lyon serving national and regional destinations)
  • Carnot (in the heart of the city, 5 min from hotel de ville)
  • La Terrasse (This station is close to Stade Geoffroy Guichard)
  • Bellevue

Saint-Etienne is linked by TGV (fast trains) to Paris (2 hours).

By car[edit]

  • A72: to the north: Clermont-Ferrand, Bordeaux, Paris...
  • A47 : to the east: Lyon, Paris, Marseille, Italy...
  • RN88: to the west: Toulouse ...

Get around[edit]

By tram, trolley & bus[edit]

STAS operates tram, trolley, buses and bicycles

Société de Transports de l'Agglomération Stéphanoise, or STAS operates a public transport network and infrastructure in and around Saint-Étienne. Its responsibility is to provide tramway, trolleybus and bus service in the fifteen communes of the Saint-Étienne agglomeration.

By bicycle[edit]

The STAS is operating as well an automatic bike sharing scheme called Vélivert. Smartcard needed.


Streets and Public Squares[edit]

Rue des martyrs de Vingré

Saint-Étienne has many elegant buildings, several attractive squares and some narrow, pedestrian streets. Here is a list of streets and squares to explore all of which are within walking distance of Place du Peuple. The locations can be found on Google Maps.

  • Place du Peuple, square surrounded by many pretty buildings.
  • Rue des martyrs de Vingré, narrow pedestrian-friendly street lined with old shop buildings.
  • Rue Saint-Jean, a narrow pedestrian street with shops. There might be a farmer's market near Square Massenet.
  • Place Dorian, a square bordered by early 20th century buildings.
  • Place Hôtel de ville with city hall on the north side of the square; adjacent to Place Dorian.
  • Place Jean Jaurès, a large square with a cathedral on the east side, and the stately Préfecture de la Loire on the north.
  • Place Boivin, with some old buildings on the east side of the square.


Saint-Étienne has an architectural heritage. Here is a list of interesting buildings within walking distance of Place du Peuple.

  • Maison François 1st, 7 and 9 place. Boivin) built in 1547 is the most remarkable of the few houses remaining in the sixteenth century Saint-Étienne. The building has a Gothic facade with some Renaissance influence in ornamentation.
  • Maison ancienne, rue du Théâtre. Half-timbered house of the 16th century.
  • Tour de la Droguerie, Place du Peuple. Built in the 16th century. The tower was part of the ancient ramparts that used to circle the old town.
  • Mansion-Chomat Jullien de Villeneuve, rue Gambetta. 17th century building.
  • Immeuble Grand-Cercle, place de l'Hôtel de Ville. A 19th-century building with decorative rococo style.
  • Ancienne Chambre de Commerce, rue de la Résistance. Built in the 19th century. The labor court now sits in this building.
  • Hôtel de Ville, place Hôtel de Ville. Built in 1821.
  • La Bourse du Travail, cours Victor Hugo. Built by architect Léon Lamaizière, inaugurated in 1907. The façades are decorated with neoclassical style, with different activities representing Saint-Étienne: weapons, mining, metallurgy.
  • Hôtel de la Préfecture, place Jean Jaurès. Built by the architect Mr. Huguet, inaugurated in 1902. Numerous sculptures adorn the building: Helmeted bust of the goddess Athena and the shields of Saint-Étienne and Roanne. The south façade summarizes moments in the history of the Loire.
  • Immeuble de La Loire Républicaine, place Jean-Jaurès. Built by architect Léon Lamaizière in the 20th century for the newspaper La Loire Républicaine.
  • Immeuble Preynat-Séauve, Avenue de la Libération. Building of the 20th century in the Haussmann style.

Museums and Galleries[edit]


  • Football: AS Saint-Étienne were relegated in 2022 and now play soccer in Ligue 2, the second tier in France. Their home ground Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (capacity 42,000) is southeast of the centre, 1 km from Saint-Étienne-la-Terrasse railway station.




  • 1 La Friterie, 9 Rue Georges Dupré.
  • 2 La Cabane, 29 Rue Saint-Jean.
  • 3 GreenBae, 5 Rue Dormoy. Vegetarian
  • 4 Super Food Station, 14 Rue Praire.
  • 5 Le tacos - Michelet, 43 Rue Michelet.
  • 6 E et K Royal Kebab, 2 Rue Denis Escoffier.
  • 7 Pitaya Thaï Street Food, 15 Rue des Martyrs de Vingré.



  • 14 A La Table des Lys, 58 Rue Saint-Simon.
  • 15 La maison dorée, 19B Cr Victor Hugo.








As of June 2022, Saint-Étienne has 5G from all French carriers.

Go next[edit]

  • The village of Firminy about 8 km southwest of Saint-Étienne is home to several buildings by the architect Le Corbusier. One of them, Maison de la culture de Firminy-Vert, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This city travel guide to Saint-Étienne is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.