With a rich mining and industrial past, the City of Art and History of Saint-Étienne has preserved an important heritage, notably from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The famous Jean-Jaurès square, decorated with a charming bandstand and lined with beautiful buildings such as the cathedral, the town hall and the Prefecture, the lively pedestrian shopping streets of the Saint-Jacques district, the picturesque Place du Peuple square, as well as the numerous museums of the city are just some of the places to be discovered.
The remarkable Modern Art museum - with more than 15 000 works! - houses one of the largest modern and contemporary art collections in France.
Dominated by the silhouette of a pit-head frame and surrounded by two slag heaps, the mine museum, on the site of Couriot mine shaft, takes visitors on a tour of a former mine through places such as the miners' changing room, the lamp room, underground galleries, the extraction room and power room.
Not to be missed either, the Museum of Art and Industry, and the Musée du Vieux Saint-Etienne local history museum.
Every other year in November is held the International Design Biennale, an event dedicated to the world of design and related professions.
Walkers will love the peaceful and unspoiled nature surrounding the town, particularly the nearby Loire gorges and Pilat mountain area.
Labeled City of Art and History, Saint-Étienne is an important town of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes located in the department of Loire. The second largest city in terms of population, it is about sixty kilometers from Lyon and fifty kilometers from Vienna. Set in the Furan Valley, Saint-Étienne is located at the gateway to the Parc Naturel Régional du Pilat.
Occupied since antiquity, the territory of Saint-Étienne experienced a real development during the Middle Ages, under the name of Saint-Étienne-de-Furan. Dangerously ravaged by the wars of Religion, the commune will have to wait until the sixteenth century to know a renewal, notably through the metallurgical industry. But it was its mining from the eighteenth century, and until the twentieth century, which made the reputation of the city in the rest of the country.
City of football par excellence, Saint-Étienne is known internationally thanks to its team, nicknamed the Greens, which knew its hour of glory in the years 1970-1980. Always on top, she continues to make the commune radiate. It is also for its architectural heritage dating mainly from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that Saint-Étienne attracts every year many visitors.
Member of the network of UNESCO Creative Cities, Saint-Étienne is rich with an architectural heritage of all ages and a desire for innovation.
Founded in the first half of the 20th century, St. Charles Cathedral unveils an interesting primitive neo-gothic style that extends over 80 meters in length. Inside, one can admire furniture of Art Deco style, as well as all the talent of the silk and ribbon of the time. Many other religious buildings of the city have been classified or registered with the Historic Monuments, like the Great Church of the fifteenth century. In the Gothic style of Forze, it is made of coal sandstone and unveils a very beautiful flamboyant Gothic choir. Do not miss the church Notre-Dame and its Jesuit facade of the nineteenth century. Inside, the organ has been classified, and you will appreciate in particular an autograph letter of Saint Louis.
Neo-Byzantine, the church of Sainte-Marie is worth a visit, as is the church of Terrenoire and its listed organ, the chapel of Charité and its woodwork of the eighteenth century, or the church of Saint Francois labeled Heritage of the 20th century.
Strolling through the old center of the city, you can admire the Francis I House built in the middle of the sixteenth century. Gothic style, its exterior reveals however Renaissance inspirations that have earned it a classification to the Historic Monuments. Different houses dating from the same period can also be admired in the neighborhood.
Built in the 19th century, the city's weapons factory now houses part of the city of design. Opened in 2009, it allows to attend exhibitions, to discover conferences on modern architecture, or to admire the 360 ° view of the city by climbing the top of the 32-meter high observation tower. In the surroundings, you will be able to appreciate many residences of the XIXe century with rococo or neo-Gothic styles.
The 20th century heritage of the city of Saint-Étienne is particularly rich, as with the Labor Exchange built at the beginning of this century. On neoclassical facades, there are sculptures recalling the main activities of the municipality, such as metallurgy, weapons or the mine. Also of neoclassical style, the school of mines opens its doors today to the engineers of tomorrow. Do not miss to see the Houses without stairs installed on the boulevard Daguerre, these constructions of the late 1930s are the work of the architect Auguste Bossu. They have the particularity of having an internal distribution made only by a single ramp.
Football enthusiast or not, you can not pass next to the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium, nicknamed the Cauldron. Inaugurated at the beginning of the 1930s, it houses a museum of the Greens retracing the epic of this mythical football team.
Second contemporary art collection behind Beaubourg, the museum of modern and contemporary art of Saint-Étienne unveils more than 4,000 m² of works by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger.
Dedicated to the industrial past of the city, the museum of art and industry takes place in a building of the Second Empire and offers collections of ribbons, weapons or cycles.
In the city, you can also discover the museum of the Mine, the museum of old Saint-Étienne in a mansion of the seventeenth century, or even the memorial of the Resistance and Deportation of the Loire.
Green City, Saint-Étienne has a large number of gardens and parks for walking and relaxing, like the park of Montaud, the largest of the city, or that of Europe with its course of perennials.
Twenty-four markets take place at Saint-Étienne, Monday to Sunday morning.
Cultural festivities are numerous in Saint-Étienne, and very varied.
March: International Biennial of Design every two years, odd years.
April: Festival of Resistance and Alternatives, Musical Festival blending music and architecture.
May: Festival Paroles et Musique, Festival Piano passion.
June: Vélocio, cycling race, Festival "Autrement gay", Festival of innovative music.
July: Les Roches Celtiques, Festival des 7 Collines (theater and cinema).
September: Economic Fair.
October: Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Face à Face.
December: Saintélyon, night race between Lyon and Saint-Étienne.
A Christmas market is also offered in December.