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Prefecture of Loire (42)

Population: 174,300. 403,000 Saint-Étienne Métropole

Personalities: Lucien Neuwirth (politician, rapporteur of the law on the contraceptive pill), Geoffroy Guichard (founder of the Casino Group), Roger Zannier (founder of the Z group), Charles Exbrayat (writer), Muriel Robin (humourist), Bernard Lavilliers , Mickey 3D (singers), Juliette Arnaud (actress, columnist), Pierre Gagnaire (chef), Alain Prost (F1 driver), Joel Bernard, Benoit Faure, Roger Riviere, Cyril Dessel (cycling), Dominique Rocheteau, Jean Castaneda (football), Bruno Gaccio (comedian), Poi Marmaï, Sami Bouajila (actors)

Specialties: bugnes (donuts), sarasson (close to cottage cheese, seasoned with herbs), rapée  (potato pancake with beaten eggs), simmered soup, baraban salad (dandelions, served with bacon or soft-boiled eggs), barboton (potato stew), grillatons (pâté made from fat and meat residues), hot pâté (dumplings with tomato sauce), liver cake, wines from Cotes du Forez ...

Sport: Euro 2016 football, Grand Départ of the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné, French Athletics Championships, host site for the 2023 Rugby Union World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Clubs: AS Saint-Étienne (Football Ligue 1, 10 French champion titles), Espoir Cycliste Saint-Étienne Loire, Saint-Étienne BMX.

Economy: 31,000 companies, the ninth largest French city for the number of patent filings. Sectors of excellence: design, new manufacturing (first mechanic pole of France), optics, surface engineering, medical technologies. Universities (25,000 students)

Festivals: International Design Biennial of Saint-Étienne (March-April, 11th edition in 2019), Paroles et Musiques (June, 28th edition in 2019), Les Sept Collines (June-July, 25th edition in 2019), Roches Celtiques ( July), Fête du Livre (book fair, October, 35th edition in 2019)

Labels: Only French city "creative design Unesco" / Label FrenchTech, leader of the DesignTech / Land of cycling excellence / City of Art and History / Museum of France for the 3 museums (Museum of the Mine, Museum of Art and Industry and Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) / Flower City 2 Flowers

Websites / Social networks: www.saint-etienne-metropole.frwww.saint-etienne.frsaint-etiennetourisme.com@villesaintetienne@saint_etienne_ /  www.instagram.com/villedesaintetienne/ /  @saintetiennemetropole/ / @SteMetropolewww.instagram.com/saintetiennemetropole/

The largest bicycle collection in France

Renovated by Jean-Michel Wilmotte in 2001 and labelled Musée de France, it possesses three collections of national and international scope: arms, bicycle and ribbons. The museum especially owns the largest collection of bicycles in France.

These collections are a major link between the past, present and future of the St Etienne region. In 1866, the first French bicycle was manufactured in St Etienne, the first step in an industry that earned an international repute thanks to the productions of Manufrance, Ravat or Automoto. From the early ages of the bicycle to the sophisticated sport and leisure machines of the 21st century, la petite reine inspired artists, inventors and advertisers. The Superb Sparrow, the first French bicycle  produced by the Manufacture or Arms and Cycles in St Etienne, is now surrounded by its many offsprings.

© CC BY-SA 3.0
© CC BY-SA 3.0

Spurned by the pre-war Tour because of its central position in France, Saint-Étienne was then largely redeemed and hosted the race 25 often memorable times since 1950. The names of the winners in town (Geminiani, Bobet, Hinault, Herrera or Zoetemelk) tell the story. One of the most significant moments was probably the end of the deadly duel between Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond in the 1986 edition. The individual time trial traced around Saint-Étienne was the badger’s ultimate feat, his 28th and last stage victory. The win over his teammate and rival was however too tight (25 seconds) for him to threaten the American and claim a sixth overall victory two days later in Paris. But the passing of the baton was notoriously nasty and LeMond, who crashed during his time trial, even accused his teammates of sabotage in favour of Hinault. The Breton swore (and he still does) that he had agreed to let LeMond win and he respected his word.

The last Tour de France visit took place in 2014 with a sprint victorybyf Alexander Kristoff. Saint-Etienne was also the city of the late Roger Rivière, the broken hero of French cycling in the 1950s. Gilles Delion, winner of the 1990 Tour de Lombardie and a rider known for his integrity, also competed in four Tours de France between 1990 (white jersey) and 1995.

Tour de France 1950 - Germiniani - Etape BRIANCON/ST ETIENNE © Presse Sports
Tour de France 1950 - Louison Bobet - Etape BRIANCON/ST ETIENNE © Presse Sports
Paris/Nice 1977 - Bernard Hinault © Presse Sports
Tour de France 1985 - Luis Herrera - Etape AUTRANS/ST ETIENNE © Presse Sports
Tour de France 1980 - Joop Zoetemelk - Etape VOREPPE/ST ETIENNE © Presse Sports
Tour de France 2014 - Victoire d'Alexander Kristoff - Etape Bourg en Bresse / Saint Etienne © ASO/X.Bourgois

City of design
The town of “arms and cycles”, proud of its industrial past, St Etienne perfectly changed with time by becoming in a few years the French capital of design. In 2010, it became the first French town and the second in Europe after Berlin to obtain the UNESCO label “Creative Design City”. The label was a reward for the work done by Cité du Design (City of Design) and Ecole Supérieure d’Art et Design (Higher School for Art and Design), two structures regrouped in the old Arms Manufacture that made the industrial reputation of St Etienne. The International Biennal of Design reinforces the stature of the town in this respect. Design is now integrated everywhere in the city, in its architecture, urban development and in its various districts.

Arms Manufacture
Built in 1864, it is an industrial palace made of red bricks and white stones, typical of the Second Empire. A section of the site was demolished during the construction of the City of Design.

St Etienne Metropole Museum of modern and contemporary art
The museum displays a programme of temporary exhibitions of international value and valorises a major collection of 20th and 21st century works, making it a reference for a provincial museum. Based around works purchased since the early 1980s and around important gifts and deposits, the collection now claims nearly 20,000 items. The museum receives more than 65,000 visitors every year in the 3,000 sq. metres of the exhibition space.
Thanks to its reputation, the museum is often asked to loan works and exhibitions for major international and national exhibitions. Nearly 400 works of art belonging to the museum are currently displayed on loan in prestigious institutions like Villa Medicis in Rome, the Beyeler foundation in Basel, Centre Pompidou in Metz, Guggenheim New York, MoMA…  

Courot Pit and Mining Museum
In the heart of a mining site listed as a historical monument, the Courot Pit is an exceptional place to discover the world of mining and miners close to the centre of St Etienne. It is the last vestige of the mining history of the city and has housed the Mining Museum of St Etienne since 1991. The buildings retained the authenticity and the traces of the men who worked there until the pit was closed in 1973 while an underground gallery was replicated. Exhibitions, concerts, and the St Barbe Festival also turn the Courot Pit into a major cultural venue while the museum is the most popular in the Loire department with 70,000 vistors annually.

© Saint-Étienne Métropole
© CC BY-SA 3.0
© Saint-Etienne Métropole / P.Grasset
© D.VILLAFRUELA / CC BY-SA 4.0 international
© H.Rival / CC BY-SA 4.0 international


Bugnes are very old as they were already popular in Rome when they were eaten during carnival. In St Etienne, they were also cooked in March, using the oil than could not be used during the fast.

For apprixmately 60 bugnes:
Ingredients: 500 g of lour, 100 g de melted butter, 3 eggs, 50 g of sugar, 10 g of yeast, 2 spoons of orange blossom or rum, salt, oil.
Mix the yeast with 5 cl of warm milk. In a salad bowl, pour the flour, dig a well and add the beaten eggs, the yeast, the softened butter, the orange blossom, the sugar and the pinch of salt, mix well and knead the dough until it forms a ball that does not stick to the fingers. Cover the salad bowl and let rise 3 hours.
On a floured work surface, roll out the dough then cut strips, divide the strips into rectangles. Incise each rectangle in the middle and slip one end inside the slot to obtain a braid.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the bugnes. The bugnes must be barely coloured, otherwise they will be too dry.

© CC BY-SA 2.05
© Saint-Etienne Tourisme/ Congrès Magali Stora
© Le Corbusier / St-Etienne Tourisme / Congrès Luc Olivier
© Saint-Etienne Tourisme / Congrès Magali Stora
Le stade de Saint-Etienne © Saint-Etienne Métropole / Fertil Ink
© Ville de Saint-Etienne / Charly Jurine
© Saint-Etienne Métropole/ H.Genouilhac
© Saint-Étienne Métropole
© Ville de Saint-Etienne /H.Genouilhac
Cité du design, Saint-étienne © Charlotte Pierot

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