Saint-Etienne will primarily be of interest to lovers of cultural and educational tourism: there are many architectural sights from different eras and museums with worthy collections. The city began to develop rapidly from the 15th century, when metallurgical production was located on its territory and weapons began to be produced, later the coal mining industry received a powerful impetus.
Tourism began to flourish in Saint-Étienne only in the 20th century, after the mass mining of coal ceased. Previously, it was more perceived as an industrial center, unfairly depriving the priceless cultural heritage of attention. Travelers from other countries know the city thanks to the football club of the same name, which has won first place in national championships more than once.
How to get to Saint-Étienne
According to wholevehicles, people get to Saint-Etienne from Paris or Lyon (there are direct flights from Moscow to these cities).
A direct train departs from the capital of France from the Gare de Lyon to Saint-Etienne, delivering to the place in 3-3.5 hours. To get from Charles de Gaulle airport to the railway station, you need to take the RER B train (official site of the French Railways) and change at the North Station to RER D or on the Chatelet – Les Halles platform to RER A. Taxi fare — from 60 EUR.
If you fly to Lyon, you can buy a ticket for the same train from Paris and get to Saint-Etienne in 45 minutes. An easier way is directly from the Lyon airport by bus carriers FlixBus (off. site) and Ouibus (off. site), on the way 1.5-2 hours. The price of a taxi from the air hub of Lyon to Saint-Etienne is from 95 EUR.
The extensive public transport system includes numerous tram and bus lines connecting the center with the outskirts. There are day and night flights, so even tourists who stay late will be able to get to the hotel for a reasonable amount and not hire a taxi for 10-15 EUR.
The network of bicycle paths is also well developed – within the municipal territory there are 27 VeliVerts network stations where you can take and leave the bike. The rental fee will depend on the distance.
The city ‘s web portal helps you navigate any route by public transport, bike or car. The service will give you all the details, from the bus stop where you need to take the bus to the available parking lots.
There are quite a few accommodation options in Saint-Étienne. Most hotels with prices in the range of 50-80 EUR for a double room are typical city hotels no higher than 2-3 * with small rooms and a basic set of services (sometimes a continental breakfast is included in the price). There are very few “four-star” hotels, as well as hostels, where it is better to book a place for 30 EUR per day a few months before the trip.
As an alternative, “starless” apartments or hotels with a standard price tag of 40-60 EUR are perfect. Keep in mind that the closer to the center, the more expensive.
It is best to settle in the districts of Sainte-Ville or Jacard Prefectures, from where it is convenient to make radial trips and walks around Saint-Étienne. In addition, the choice of hotels in these places is larger, and they are distinguished by good transport accessibility. Football fans can find accommodation closer to the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in order to get to matches faster.
Cuisine and restaurants
Quite pleasant – in Saint-Etienne, tourists on a limited budget will definitely not go hungry. In the network of French eateries La Mie Caline, it is quite possible to have a hearty lunch or dinner for one person for less than 10 EUR, Subway with approximately the same price level is nearby. Right at the railway station there is a McDonald’s, where the cost of the usual fast food set will not exceed the same 10-12 EUR.
Relatively inexpensive places for France are represented by pizzerias, cafeterias and pastry shops, where you can have breakfast with a cup of coffee with a fresh croissant or a piece of pizza with a variety of toppings. Traditional restaurants serving French and European cuisine offer a standard dinner (lunch) with one or two servings of alcohol for 40 EUR. “Menu of the day” without drinks goes for 20-25 EUR.
In the past, Saint-Étienne was known as a city of gunsmiths and miners, in the present – as the location of a famous football team. Unfortunately, tourists still unfairly ignore its historical sights.
First of all, you should look at the Cathedral of St. Carlo Bartolomeo on Rue 4 Septembre, 8. The building was built in 1923 in the neo-Gothic style. Another worthy example of religious architecture is the 11th century Grande Eglise church, which has retained the stern look of early Gothic despite several restorations (located on Place Boivin).
At the Museum of Art and Industry on Pl. Louis Comte, 2 there are expositions telling about coal mining, textile production and weapons business. It will be interesting to look at the collection of old bicycles, including the very first example produced in Saint-Étienne in 1886.
The City Museum of Modern Art, located on Rue Fernand Leger, has the most important collection in France after the Center Georges Pompidou. Here you can look at the works of A. Matisse, P. Picasso, E. Warhol, C. Monet, F. Léger. The original building of the museum was built in 1947 according to the design of the famous architect J.-M. Wilmott.
You should not pass by the Football Museum dedicated to the history of the Saint-Etienne team (Geoffroy Guichard sports arena) and the Mining Museum, where during the tour visitors go underground and roam the gloomy adits.