Tram st etienne place fourneyron.jpg
Coat of arms of Saint-Étienne
Location of Saint-Étienne
Saint-Étienne is located in France
Show map of France
Saint-Étienne is located in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Show map of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
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
Arrondissement Saint-Étienne
Canton Saint-Étienne-1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Intercommunality Saint-Étienne Métropole
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Gaël Perdriau[1] (LR)
79.97 km2 (30.88 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018)[2]
 • Rank 13th in France
 • Density 2,200/km2 (5,600/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Stéphanois[3]
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
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.

Saint-Étienne (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃t‿etjɛn]; Arpitan: Sant-Etiève; Occitan: Sant Estève, [ˈsantesˈtɛβe]; English: Saint Stephen) is a city in eastern central France, in the Massif Central, 60 km (37 mi) southwest of Lyon in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, on the trunk road that connects Toulouse with Lyon. Saint-Étienne is the prefecture of the Loire department.

Saint-Étienne is the 13th most populated commune in France and the 2nd most populated commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Saint-Étienne Métropole is the 3rd most populous regional metropolis after Grenoble Alpes and Lyon. The municipality is also at the heart of a vast urban area with more than 519,834 inhabitants in 2016, the seventeenth largest in France by population, comprising 117 municipalities.

Long known as the French city of the "weapon, cycle and ribbon" and a major coal mining centre, Saint-Etienne is currently engaged in a vast urban renewal program aimed at leading the transition from the industrial city inherited from the 19th century to the "design capital" of the 21st century. This approach was recognized with the entry of Saint-Etienne into the UNESCO Creative Cities network in 2010. The city is currently undergoing renewal, with the installation of the Châteaucreux business district, the Steel shopping centre and the Manufacturing creative district.

The city is known for its football club AS Saint-Étienne who has won the Ligue 1 title a record ten times.


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.

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.


The population data in the table and graph below refer to the commune of Saint-Étienne proper, in its geography at the given years. The commune of Saint-Étienne absorbed the former communes of Beaubrun, Montaud, Outre-Furent and Valbenoîte in 1855, ceded Planfoy in 1863, absorbed Saint-Victor-sur-Loire and Terrenoire in 1969 and Rochetaillée in 1973.[4]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1793 25,000 —    
1800 16,259 −5.96%
1806 18,035 +1.74%
1821 19,102 +0.38%
1831 33,064 +5.64%
1836 41,534 +4.67%
1841 48,554 +3.17%
1846 49,614 +0.43%
1851 56,003 +2.45%
1856 94,432 +11.01%
1861 92,250 −0.47%
1866 96,620 +0.93%
1872 110,814 +2.31%
1876 126,019 +3.27%
1881 123,813 −0.35%
1886 117,875 −0.98%
1891 133,443 +2.51%
1896 136,030 +0.38%
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1901 146,559 +1.50%
1906 146,788 +0.03%
1911 148,656 +0.25%
1921 167,967 +1.23%
1926 193,737 +2.90%
1931 191,088 −0.27%
1936 190,236 −0.09%
1946 177,966 −0.66%
1954 181,730 +0.26%
1962 210,311 +1.84%
1968 223,223 +1.00%
1975 220,181 −0.20%
1982 204,955 −1.02%
1990 199,396 −0.34%
1999 180,210 −1.12%
2007 175,318 −0.34%
2012 171,483 −0.44%
2017 172,565 +0.13%
Source: EHESS[4] and INSEE (1968-2017)[5]


Saint-Étienne became a popular stop for automobile travelers in the early 20th century.

In 1998, Saint-Étienne set up a design biennale, the largest of its kind in France.[6] It lasts around two weeks. 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.[7]

Saint-Étienne has four 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 d'Art et d'Industrie (fr)
  4. Musée du vieux Saint-Etienne (fr)


The climate is temperate at the weather station due to its low altitude, but Saint-Étienne itself is much higher, above 530 m (1739 ft) in downtown, and even above 700 m (2297 ft) in the southern parts of the city. Actually, Saint-Étienne is very close from a warm-summer humid continental climate (Köppen : Dfb), and is generally the snowiest city of France, with an average of 85 cm (2.79 ft) of snow accumulation per year.


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. The 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
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, 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 has been 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. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2018". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Top 10 des choses à faire pour être 100% stéphanois". Saint-Étienne CityCrunch (in French). 28 March 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Saint-Étienne, EHESS. (in French)
  5. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  6. ^ "La Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne". Cité du design. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  7. ^ St-Etienne and Sydney nominated UNESCO Creative Cities , 22 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Données climatiques de la station de Saint-Étienne" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Climat Rhône-Alpes" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Normes et records 1961-1990: Saint-Étienne - Bouthéon (42) - altitude 400m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  11. ^ Griffin, Mary (2 August 2011). "Coventry's twin towns". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Coventry - Twin towns and cities". Coventry City nonoCouncil. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  13. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013.


External links