City summary: Saint-Etienne

Press release


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.

Fun Facts

  • 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.

Significant Site

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

Extraordinary Exhibit

Musée d’Art Moderne: one of the largest European collections of contemporary art and design

Delectable Delights

  • 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

Legendary Local

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