SAINT-ETIENNE – www.saint-etiennetourisme.com
The triplet passions of culture, design and football might seem like an odd mix, but Saint-Etienne really makes it work. The unifying element – community – is definitely what holds it all together and adds powerful luster to this rising-star city. It's community that has rallied around festivals, art and architecture at home. Community that helped identify the city as one of the globe’s leading UNESCO Creative Cities of Design, complete with a special museum, major international biennale and purpose-built creation, research, training and exhibition facility. And community that throws passionate support behind its local soccer team, Les Verts.
Saint-Etienne is the only French UNESCO Creative City of Design and the second in Europe after Berlin.
Saint-Etienne has its own Statue of Liberty by Auguste Bartholdi – the same artist who created the one in New York City – albeit a much smaller version, located on the Square Jules Ferry.
Cité du Design: a symbol of the city, located in a former arms factory and now a place of creation, research, training and exhibition for design
Musée d’Art Moderne: one of the largest European collections of contemporary art and design
râpée: grated potato and cheese galette, served with sarasson (a local seasoned fromage frais)
Côte du Forez wine: red and rosé wines whose grapes grow in the foothills of the Forez mountains
Muriel Robin: award-winning actress and comic who plays an active part in supporting charities
Also in the Area
Château de Bouthéon: an integral part of the local area’s history since the 13th century, but now a museum, aquarium, and wildlife and botanical park
Musée du Chapeau: a hat museum with workshops, working machines, hat-shaping steamers and a fascinating collection of headgear from the end of the century up to the present
Lyon: just 38 miles away and with a World Heritage-listed old city of narrow streets, bustling quays and power-packed history
Access from Paris
by road: about 5 h 30 min (345 miles) via the A71 autoroute de l'Arverne
by train: about 2 h 50 min by TGV from the Gare de Lyon
For more about what to see and do in and around Saint-Etienne, including on the “Passion for gastronomy & creation” itinerary, visit www.topfrenchcitybreaks.com