Stage town for the 27th time Prefecture of the Loire (42)
Population: 174,000 (Stéphanois, Stéphanoises), 405,000 in the 53 communes of the Saint-Étienne Urban Community.
Personalities: Jules Massenet (composer), Bernard Lavilliers (singer), Charles Exbrayat (author of detective novels), Paul Fournel (writer, Tour de France enthusiast), Muriel Robin (actress), Pierre Gagnaire (chef), Roger Rivière, Gilles Delion (cyclists), Aimé Jacquet, Robert Herbin, Georges Bereta, Hervé and Patrick Revelli, Dominique Rocheteau (football).
Specialities: Pilat wines (Côte-Rotie, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, Château-Grillet), bugnes, sarasson.
Sport: AS Saint-Étienne (football, Ligue 1, 10 French league titles). Facilities: Geoffroy-Guichard stadium.
Economy: innovative industrial territory with 31,000 companies and sectors of excellence: design, new manufacturing (France's leading mechanical engineering centre), optics, medical technologies, surface engineering.
Festivals: Saint-Étienne International Design Biennial (until July 31). Saint-Étienne Book Festival. Festival des sept Collines.
Labels: Cycling city of the Tour de France (2) / City of art and history / Unesco creative design city / Land of cycling excellence (highest level of territorial labelling by the French Cycling Federation).
Websites and social networks: www.saint-etienne-metropole.fr / www.saint-etienne-hors-cadre.fr / https://www.facebook.com/saintetiennehorscadre/ / https://twitter.com/ot_saintetienne
Saint-Étienne Métropole is renowned for Badoit sparkling mineral water and the football team known as The Greens, but tehere is much more to it. Above all, there is a will and plenty of ideas. New ones, brilliant ones, even genius ideas. Try, test, try again... that's how we succeed in Saint-Étienne! Here, we have a sense of the collective and we move forward by sticking together to move the lines of conduct, of thought and of design. In the streets, in the museums, from Le Corbusier to the International Design Biennial, but above all in the hearts, design is the state of mind of all the people of Saint Etienne who are reinventing the territory. A true laboratory, curious about new ideas and resolutely forward-looking, Saint-Étienne is a city that creates. As a result, it has around 1,000 patents on its books and counting. Its actors never stop inventing, testing and innovating to reveal to everyone the essence of an out-of-the-box Saint-Etienne, a destination that has always been off the beaten track.
Visiting Saint-Etienne means living a permanent design experience: in the architecture, in everyday life, in the development of the territory, but above all at the heart of the local initiatives that flourish in the many collaborative places. They are carried out by artists, designers, scientists or entrepreneurs from Saint Etienne, who are both actors and ambassadors of the city. It is not surprising that Saint-Etienne is the only French city to be awarded the UNESCO "Creative Design" label, alongside Montreal, Shanghai, Detroit and Barcelona. In 2020, Saint-Etienne also received its second Unesco label as an "Inclusive City of Design", and in 2021 it was awarded the highest distinction of the "Active and Sports City" label.
SAINT-ÉTIENNE AND CYCLING
Shunned by the Tour before the war because of its central position in France, Saint-Étienne has since redeemed itself and has hosted the Grande Boucle on 25 occasions since 1950, often for memorable finishes. The names of the winners in town (Geminiani, Bobet, Hinault, Herrera or Zoetemelk) speak for themselves. One of the most memorable episodes of the Tour's passages in the Forez was undoubtedly the end of the “friendly” rivalry between Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond in the 1986 edition. The individual time trial around Saint-Étienne was the Badger's last stand, his 28th and final stage victory. His victory over his team-mate and rival was however too narrow (25") to allow him to threaten the American and claim a sixth Tour title two days later in Paris. The passing of the baton, as we know, was not easy, and LeMond’s crash in this time trial led him to accuse his team-mates of sabotage in favour of Hinault. The Breton swore that he had made a pact to ensure LeMond's victory and that he stuck to it.
For the last visit of the race in town, Thomas De Gendt strengthened his reputation as the eternal long-distance escapee. The Belgian rider won after a 200-km solo at the end of a stage that put two French riders on the provisional podium of the overall classification: Alaphilippe back in yellow, and Pinot 3rd.
Saint-Etienne was also the city of the late Roger Rivière, the broken destiny of French cycling in the 50s. Gilles Delion, winner of the 1990 Tour of Lombardy and a rider of exemplary probity, who competed in four Tours de France between 1990 (best young rider) and 1995, was also born there.
City of design
Saint-Étienne, "city of arms and cycles", proud of its industrial past, has perfectly initiated its transformation by becoming the French capital of design in a few years. In 2010, it became the first French city and the second in Europe after Berlin to obtain the Unesco "Creative Design City" label, rewarding the work carried out by the Cité du Design and the École supérieure d'art et design, two structures now housed in the former Arms Manufacture. The International Design Biennial further strengthens the city's stature in this field. Its symbol? The Platinum. Horizontal, transparent and full of light, it houses an agora, a media library, a restaurant, an auditorium, exhibition rooms and even a material library.
Le Corbusier-Firminy site
On the outskirts of Saint-Étienne, the Firminy Vert site is a fascinating place for architecture specialist and tourists: a multicoloured housing unit, a cone-shaped church, a concave cultural centre listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an amphitheatre-like stadium and a swimming pool. The site is the second largest conceived by famous architect Le Corbusier.
Characteristics: its buildings cover an area of twelve hectares near Place Carnot. Designed in the spirit of the rationalist architecture of the 18th century, in the tradition of Claude Nicolas Ledoux's Salines and the Grand-Hornu near Mons, the factory is an industrial and military "palace", made of red brick and white stone, a prestigious representation of the power of the Second Empire.
History: the factory was created in 1765, with the approval of King Louis XV. It obtained the title of "royal factory" which allowed it to be the official supplier of French and foreign troops. Located at the time on Place Chavanelle, the factory produced weapons of war and civilian weapons. From the beginning of the Revolution, every effort was made to speed up production. Saint-Étienne was even nicknamed Armeville. But the production capacity was insufficient to meet the orders of the Second Empire, so the entrepreneurs decided to build a new factory using steam power. In November 1862, the Saint-Etienne town council decided to build a new factory. The land chosen was located on the Champ de Mars between the railway line and the Roanne road, covering an area of 12 hectares.
Listing: Historical Monument since 2006.
Saint-Etienne Métropole Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Characteristics: The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art offers a programme of temporary exhibitions of international scope and promotes a major collection of 20th and 21st century works. Made up of acquisitions made since the early 1980s, it currently comprises nearly 20,000 items. The museum welcomes more than 65,000 visitors each year to its 3,000 m2 of exhibition space.
Special features: thanks to its reputation, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is called upon throughout the year to loan works or exhibition projects for major national and international events. Between 300 and 400 works are loaned and exhibited throughout the world in prestigious institutions (Villa Medici-Rome, Fondation Beyeler-Basel, Centre Pompidou Metz, Guggenheim New York, MoMA, etc.). After the Centre Pompidou, the largest collection of contemporary art in France is in Saint-Étienne.
Museum of Art and Industry
Construction: 1889. renovated in 2001
History: In 1833, the municipality of Saint-Etienne decided to set up a fund for the creation of a museum. In 1846, Étienne Boisson built the new the sub-prefecture. It later became the Palais des Arts, housing the museum and the municipal library. In 1851, a large part of Marshal Oudinot's collection of weapons was purchased. In 1889, the Museum of Art and Industry was created.
Characteristics: renovated by Jean-Michel Wilmotte in 2001, it has three technical collections of national and international importance: weapons, cycles and ribbons. In particular, it holds the largest collection of cycles in France. In 1886, the first French bicycle was manufactured in Saint-Etienne, the founding act of an industry that became internationally renowned thanks to the products of Manufrance, Ravat and Automoto.
Listing: Museum of France
Couriot Shaft and Mine Museum
Foundation: shaft exploited since the 18th century, closed in 1973. Museum opened in 1991.
Characteristics: At the heart of a mining site, the Couriot Pit is a heritage complex dedicated to the discovery of the world of coal. With its two slag heaps and its headframe, it is the last great witness to the mining adventure in the Saint-Etienne basin and has been home to the Saint-Etienne Mining Museum since 1991. An underground gallery has been reconstructed there.
Special features: Exhibitions, festivals, concerts, art installations and the Saint Barbara's Day festival make Couriot a leading place for life and culture, and today it is the most visited museum in the Loire region with more than 70,000 visitors per year.
Listing: Historical Monument since 2011 / Museum of France.
Owned by Saint-Etienne Métropole, the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium needs no introduction. With a capacity of 42,000 seats following renovation work to host Euro 2016 football, the mythical Cauldron is now one of the flagships of French sport, whose museum can be visited. In 2023, it will be the host site for the Rugby World Cup, followed by the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Bugnes are of very ancient origin, as they were eaten in Rome at carnival time. In Saint-Etienne, it was also before Shrove Tuesday that bugnes were made with the oil that could no longer be used during Lent.