This article is about the French city. For other uses, see Saint Etienne.

Clockwise from top: View of Saint-Étienne, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Place du Peuple, tramway at Gare de Châteaucreux and Couriot Coalmine.

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 45°26′05″N 4°23′25″E / 45.4347°N 4.3903°E / 45.4347; 4.3903Coordinates: 45°26′05″N 4°23′25″E / 45.4347°N 4.3903°E / 45.4347; 4.3903
Country France
Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Department Loire
Canton Capital of 9 cantons
Intercommunality Saint-Étienne Métropole
  Mayor (2014-2020) Gaël Perdriau (UMP)
Area1 79.97 km2 (30.88 sq mi)
Population (2007 estimate)2 178,530
  Rank 16th in France
  Density 2,200/km2 (5,800/sq mi)
Time zone CET (GMT +1) (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 42218 / 42000, 42100
Elevation 422–1,117 m (1,385–3,665 ft)
(avg. 516 m or 1,693 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Saint-Étienne (French pronunciation: [sɛ̃t‿etjɛn]; Arpitan: Sant-Etiève; Saint Stephen) is a city in eastern central France, in the Massif Central, 50 km (31 mi) southwest of Lyon in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, on the trunk road that connects Toulouse with Lyon. Saint-Étienne is the capital of the Loire department and has a population of approximately 172,023 (2013) in the city itself and over 508,000 in the metropolitan area (2011).


At the very beginning, Hungarian refugees were expelled from the newly developing Languedoc by Guilhem of Auvergne and Aquitaine in 925, so Rodolphe the Frank bought an area of land in Savoy called Forez County in 930 to provide them with a home.

Named after Saint Stephen, the city first appears in the historical record in the Middle Ages as Saint-Étienne de Furan (after the River Furan, a tributary of the Loire). In the 13th century it was a small borough around the church dedicated to Saint Etienne. On the upper reaches of the Furan near the Way of St. James the Abbey of Valbenoîte had been founded by the cistercians in 1222. In the late 15th century it was a fortified village defended by walls built around the original nucleus.

From the 16th century, Saint-Étienne developed an arms manufacturing industry and became a market town. It was this which accounted for the town's importance, although it also became a centre for the manufacture of ribbons and passementerie starting in the 17th century. During the French revolution, Saint-Étienne was briefly renamed Armeville – 'arms town' – because of this activity.

Later, it became a mining centre of the Loire coal mining basin, and more recently has become known for its bicycle industry.

In the first half of the 19th century it was only a chief town of an arrondissement in the département of the Loire, with a population of 33,064 in 1832. The concentration of industry prompted these numbers to rise rapidly to 110,000 by about 1880. It was this growing importance of Saint-Étienne that led to its being made seat of the prefecture and the departmental administration on 25 July 1855, when it became the chief town in the département and seat of the prefect, replacing Montbrison, which was reduced to the status of chief town of an arrondissement. Saint-Étienne absorbed the commune of Valbenoîte and several other neighbouring localities on 31 March 1855.


Population of the city at the 1999 census was 180,210 (177,300 as of February 2004 estimates). Population of the whole metropolitan area at the 1999 census was 321,703.

Inhabitants of Saint-Étienne are called Stéphanois in French. They are named so because "Étienne" derives from the Greek Stephanos.


Saint-Étienne became a popular stop for automobile travelers in the early 20th century (sometimes referred to as The Golden Age of Travel[1]).

In 1990 Saint-Étienne set up a design biennale – the largest of its kind in France. It lasts around two weeks. The last convention was in March 2013.[2] A landmark in the history of the importance ascribed to design in Saint-Étienne was the inauguration of La Cité du design on the site of the former arms factory in 2009.

The city also launched the Massenet Festivals, (the composer Jules Massenet hailed from the area) devoted mainly to perform Massenet's operas. In 2000 the city was named one of the French Towns and Lands of Art and History. On 22 November 2010, it was nominated as "City of Design" as part of Unesco’s Creative Cities Network.[3]

Saint-Étienne has three museums:

  1. the Musée d'Art Moderne has one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art in France
  2. Musée de la Mine
  3. Musée de l'Art et de l'Industrie


Saint-Étienne has an anomalic type of the oceanic climate that is heavily influenced by its relative distance to the sea. Summer days are very warm for a marine climate type, but falls into the range due to the cool nights that keeps the mean average temperatures below the subtropical threshold of 22 °C (72 °F). Winters are cool but rarely very cold, although minor frosts are common. Precipitation levels are very low for this type of climate regime during winters, although the wet and humid summers compensate.

Climate data for Saint-Étienne (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.0
Average high °C (°F) 6.8
Average low °C (°F) −0.4
Record low °C (°F) −25.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 36.6
Average precipitation days 7.7 6.8 7.2 9.4 11.0 8.8 7.1 7.7 7.5 8.9 8.0 7.3 97.2
Average relative humidity (%) 81 78 73 71 72 72 68 71 75 80 81 83 75.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 85.6 108.8 159.3 182.4 212.9 239.5 273.1 251.4 187.3 133.5 83.5 67.9 1,985.1
Source #1: Météo France[4][5]
Source #2: (humidity, 1961–1990)[6]


The city's football club AS Saint-Étienne has won the Ligue 1 title a record ten times, achieving most of their success in the 1970s. British indie-dance band Saint Etienne named themselves after the club.

St. Étienne has many sports stadiums, the largest being Stade Geoffroy-Guichard used for football and Stade Henri-Lux for athletics. St. Étienne was the capital of the French bicycle industry. The bicycle wheel manufacturer Mavic is based in the city and frame manufacturers Motobécane and Vitus are also based here. The city often hosts a stage of the Tour de France.

St. Étienne resident Thierry Gueorgiou is a world champion in orienteering. The local rugby union team is CA Saint-Étienne Loire Sud Rugby.


Cité du design
Street tram in the city
Tramway, bus and bicycles run by STAS (Société de Transports de l'Agglomération Stéphanoise)
Rochetaillée castle

The nearest airport is Saint-Étienne - Bouthéon Airport which is located in Andrézieux-Bouthéon, 12 km (7.46 mi) north-northwest of Saint-Étienne. The main railway station is Gare de Saint-Étienne-Châteaucreux, which offers high speed services to Paris and Lyon (Saint-Étienne–Lyon railway) and several regional lines.

Saint-Étienne is also notable for its tramway (Saint-Étienne tramway) – which uniquely with Lille, it kept throughout the 20th century – and its trolleybus system (Saint-Étienne trolleybus system) – which is one of only three such systems currently operating in France.

Bus and tram transport is regulated and provided by the Société de Transports de l'Agglomération Stéphanoise (STAS), a public transport executive organisation.

The bicycle sharing system Vélivert with 280 short term renting bicycles is available since June 2010.

Colleges and universities

Notable people

Saint-Étienne was the birthplace of

It was also the place where Andrei Kivilev died.

International relations

Saint-Étienne is twinned with:

See also


  1. "LAPL Virtual Photo: Far and Wide". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  2. "Cité du design | Biennale | L'Édition 2013". Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  3. St-Etienne and Sydney nominated UNESCO Creative Cities , 22 November 2010.
  4. "Données climatiques de la station de Saint-Étienne" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  5. "Climat Rhône-Alpes" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  6. "Normes et records 1961-1990: Saint-Étienne - Bouthéon (42) - altitude 400m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  7. Griffin, Mary (2011-08-02). "Coventry's twin towns". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  8. "Coventry - Twin towns and cities". Coventry City nonoCouncil. Archived from the original on 2013-04-12. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  9. "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
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