Saint-Étienne is a city in the central eastern part of France, 60 km (40 miles) southwest of Lyon. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Saint-Étienne is the prefecture (capital) of the Loire Department. It is situated in the Massif Central.
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.
- L'Aéroport International de Saint-Étienne [formerly dead link] some 10 km north of Saint-Étienne .
- L'Aéroport International de Lyon - St-Exupéry.
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)
Saint-Etienne is linked by TGV (fast trains) to Paris (2 hours).
- A72: to the north: Clermont-Ferrand, Bordeaux, Paris...
- A47 : to the east: Lyon, Paris, Marseille, Italy...
- RN88: to the west: Toulouse ...
By tram, trolley & bus
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.
The STAS is operating as well an automatic bike sharing scheme called Vélivert. Smartcard needed.
Streets and Public Squares
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 sixteenth century.
- Tour de la Droguerie, Place du Peuple. Built in the sixteenth century. The tower was part of the ancient ramparts that used to circle the old town.
- Mansion-Chomat Jullien de Villeneuve, rue Gambetta. Seventeenth century building, now occupied by the Museum of Old Saint-Étienne (Musée du vieux Saint-Étienne).
- Immeuble Grand-Cercle, place de l'Hôtel de Ville. A nineteenth-century building with decorative rococo style.
- Ancienne Chambre de Commerce, rue de la Résistance. Built in the nineteenth 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 facades are decorated with neo-classical 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 facade that summarizes moments in the history of the Loire.
- Immeuble de La Loire Républicaine, place Jean-Jaurès. Built by architect Léon Lamaizière in the twentieth century for the newspaper La Loire Républicaine.
- Immeuble Preynat-Séauve, Avenue de la Libération. Building of the twentieth century in the Haussmann style.
Museums and Galleries
- Museum of Modern Art, ☏ . Rue Fernand Léger - 42170 Saint-Priest-en-Jarez.
- Museum Art & Industry, 2 Pl. Louis Comte, ☏ .
- Museum the Mine, 3bd Franchet d'Esperey, ☏ .
- Museum of old Saint-Etienne.
- Les Ateliers et le Conservatoire des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France.
- 1 Musée des transports urbains (Urban transportation museum), Avenue Pierre Mendès-France (Tram T1 to Clinique du Parc). Wednesdays 2pm-5pm. History of public transit in Saint-Étienne with some old trams and buses and many smaller exhibits.
- [dead link] L'Astronef, 28 rue Pierre et Dominique Ponchardier, ☏ . Planetarium of Saint-Étienne.
- Mémorial de la Résistance et de la Déportation (museum of the Resistance during the Second World War)
- Watch football (soccer) at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Home team AS Saint-Étienne play in Ligue 1, the top tier of French football, and often qualify for European tournaments. The stadium, capacity 41,965, is southeast of the centre, 1 km from Saint-Étienne-la-Terrasse railway station.
- Bol' Appétit, 9 rue Clovis Hugues, ☏ . €7,50.
- Le bistrot de Paris, 7 place Jean Jaurès, ☏ , fax: . €24/40.
- La Bouche Pleine, 2, place Chavanelle, ☏ . €20/40.
- Chez Les Fondus, 23 rue Marengo, ☏ , ✉ Chezlesfondus@Hotmail.Fr. €15/20.
- Le Clos Fleuri, 76, avenue Albert Raimond 42270 Saint Priest En Jarez, ☏ . €30/60.
- L'Epicurien, 13, rue Praire, ☏ . €15/30.
- [dead link] L'Escargot d'Or, 5 cours Victor Hugo, ☏ , fax: . €14/33.
- La Mangoune, Gare du Clapier - 10, boulevard Pierre Mendès, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. €10/20.
- Nota Bene, 8 place Jean Jaurès, ☏ , fax: . €7.50/23.
- Le Praire, 14, rue Praire, ☏ . €15/45.
- Restaurant du Musée d'Art Moderne, La Terrasse, ☏ , fax: . €15/25.
- El Sombrero, 4 cours Victor Hugo, ☏ . €19/23.
- Andre Barcet, 19 Bis Cours Victor Hugo, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. €22/67.
- [formerly dead link] Le Flore, 31 boulevard Jules Janin, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. €25/50.
- Le Neuvième Art, place du 19 Mars 1962, 42170 Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, ☏ . €60/100.
- Restaurant Les Iris, 32 avenue Jean Martouret 42160 Andrezieux Bouthéon, ☏ . €25/70.
- Restaurant Nouvelle, 28-30 rue St Jean, ☏ , fax: . €27/77.
- Auberges de jeunesses Le Pertuiset, Les Echandes - Unieux, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- Camping de Chantegrillet, 16 allée Chantegrillet, ☏ .
- Foyer Clairvivre, 14 rue de Roubaix, ☏ . €22/18.
- , 27 rue Elisée Reclus, ☏ . €16.
- Agnès Hôtel, 18, rue de la Résistance, ☏ , fax: . €30/38.
- Aréna Hôtel, 17, rue Marc Charras, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. €38/49.
- Austria Hotel, place Massenet La Terrasse, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. €40/80.
- Le Baladin Hôtel, 12, rue Ville, ☏ , fax: . €37/56.
- Central Hôtel, 3, rue Blanqui, ☏ , fax: .
- Le Chaudron Vert, 23, rue Trois Glorieuses, ☏ , fax: . €37/52.
- Furania Hôtel, 18, rue de la Résistance, ☏ , fax: . €45/74.
- Hôtel des Arts, 11, rue Gambetta, ☏ , fax: . €46/61.
- Hôtel Bellevue, 17, place Bellevue, ☏ . €35/78.
- Hôtel le Carnot, 11, boulevard Jules Janin, ☏ , fax: .
- Hôtel le Cheval Noir, 11, rue François-Gillet, ☏ . €42/70.
- Hôtel Tenor, 12, rue Blanqui, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. €52.
- Splendid Hotel, 16 rue du Théâtre, ☏ . €26/38.
- [formerly dead link] L'Albatros, 67, rue Saint Simon, ☏ , fax: . €72/160.
- Hôtel Astoria, rue Henri Dechaud, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. €54/78.
- Hôtel Brasserie d'Anjou, 32, avenue Denfert Rochereau, ☏ , fax: . €49/90.
- Hôtel Terminus du Forez, 31, avenue Denfert Rochereau, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. €59/69.
- Mercure, rue Dewuppertal parc de l'Europe, ☏ . €93/121.
- Mid, 19 boulevard Pasteur, ☏ . €58/90.
- [formerly dead link] Novotel Saint Etienne Aéroport, 1, rue du 18 Juin - Andrézieux-Bouthéon, ☏ , fax: . €68/102.
- Greece, 95 Rue Ducau, ☏ , fax: .
- 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 listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.