St- Etienne

RHONE ALPS St Etienne Museum Modern Art FRANCIS_PICABIA_Le_Fiance

Industrial St- Etienne (pop. 175,000) lies on a trunk road that connects Toulouse to Lyon. It is the capital of the Loire department, and was briefly known as Armeville, due to its arms manufacturing industry which boomed here in the 17th century. The town then turned its attention to coal mining, which also flourished quickly, leading way to St Etienne being given an important seat in the prefecture. However, the heavy industrial nature of the activity gave St Etienne’s surroundings a bad reputation, due to the spreading pollution. Since then, the town has been redeveloped with whitewashed buildings and parks.

Although St Etienne is short on tourist attractions, its Musée d’art Moderne [Rue Fernand Leger +33 477795252 ad/ch €5/Free] has earned itself a good name and is worth a visit, as the museum holds a well-recognised collection of 20th century paintings, photographs and sculptures. It has 10 showrooms, displaying over 19,000 pieces. The museum is located in a suburb north of the city centre, and is conveniently accessible by train to a station named after and within a short walking distance to the museum.

In an attempt to leave its industrial nature behind, St Etienne has been aiming to become an important centre for design. Hence, it has been hosting the Biennale Internationale Design every two years, attracting a steady stream of visitors, to the otherwise rather dreary town.


ST-ETIENNE STREET MAP:   1. Tourism Office  2. Train station  3. Musée d’art Moderne (north of map limits; zoom out 3 clicks to view)

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