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Old Posted Feb 3, 2008, 11:32 PM
Sandy's Avatar
Sandy Sandy is offline
Salut tout le monde!
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: St Etienne, France
Posts: 411
Arrow ST ETIENNE, FRANCE | By a Stéphanoise: a big thread

Here is my thread on St Etienne, my city, Sainté as all Stéphanois call it. in addition to Bordercityboy's thread (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=145104)

175 000 inhabitants, surrounded by 7 hills, close to Pilat regional park, 1 hour drive from Lyon, an average french city which would like to be more
estimated than it is now, this will probably never change despites our Mayor's efforts.

Sainté is known in France as a black city, first because of its coal mines which were closed during the seventies (I've just discovered that finally, it's not so old!!)
and secondly due to its important industrial past : lots of metal industries but also ribbons companies, bicycles and of course weapons.

This last one was an important part of St Etienne industries so let me explain a little:

In the 16th century the arms factory became the official arms manufacture for the king François 1er, and, just before the French revolution,
this part will interest American readers, in 1776, a stéphanois named Jean-Joseph Carrier de Monthieu and M. de Montbeillard who worked
at the St Etienne weapons manufacture, get, from the king Louis XV, the agreement to produce guns for the US Patriots, which were used for the Saratoga battle.

So I'm pleased to say that, as Lafayette, my city helped the US to get their independence.

Here it is:

1766 "Charleville (The first model of the US arsenal at Springfield in 1795 was a copy of Charleville)

That's why in the street where I live you can see this: Amazing isn't it

St Etienne win the nickname of Armeville (weapon city) and kept manufacturing weapons through the centuries, tanks, guns (FAMAS: Fusil d'Assaut
de la Manufacture d'Armes de St Etienne) anti-tanks weapons... until 2000 when it was definitly closed.
The site is being renovating since last year to become the Cité du Design in 2009 if everything goes OK.

St Etienne is also the home of "Les Verts" soccer team and the head office of the Casino group, the first supermarket chains in France
(a leader as Carrefour or Walmart), Geoffroy Guichard who created the company gave his name to the stadium.

Since the seventies, this worker city had to face with many industrial plants closings: Manufrance (cycles), MAS and GIAT (arms)...,
increasing the unemployment rate.
These economic matters gave a bad look to the city with empty warehouses, old plants...that's why it kept its "black city" name in France.

But for the last 5 years, things change and the city is now showing a new face, its industrial past has been slowly removed with big urban projects.
A politic of outside opening to get investment and to develop high level industry is led by the mayor. (http://www.st-etienne-metropole.com/article16.html)
(This is a good thing but if you want my opinion, I think this is too much, our mayor seems to believe he's at the head of a top 5 French cities
but St Etienne will always be an average city 40 miles southwest of Lyon which is a city that really count! nothing will change that.)

Now let's appreciate what it became, not so bad finally and not a black city anymore:

1. Small panorama----------------------------------------------->>>>>>>>>>>-------------------------------move------------------------------------------------------------------->>>>>


3. Courriot coal mine shaft which became a museum


5. From the Clapier railroad station

6. The museum entrance

7. I guess this is mine workers' protector

8. The old weapons factory


10. Geoffroy Guichard soccer stadium and, to the right, the Zenith construction, a big concert hall

11. No comment


13. Some views of the city


15. Another "crassier" (hill of waste from the old coal mine)

16. Near Châteaucreux railroad station

17. The railroad station and its brand new parking lot


19. Our tram on its brand new line, it has been operating without interruption for 123 years
(the only one in this case in France, even if many cities are now getting it back due to traffic and pollution)


21. Downtown - Place Jean Jaurès viewed from the left

22. ...to the right

22bis. Pano ------------------------------------------------------->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>--------------move--------------------------------------------------->>>>>>>>>>

23. Restaurants: in summer, all the Jean Jaurès place become a big terrace

24. Part of St Charles Cathedral



27. More restaurants ( Yes in France we love eating!)



30. The Prefecture (office of the prefet, the cops' boss)


32. The Grand'rue with the tram

33. City Hall (almost the same photo than Border city boy: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=145104)


35. Place Dorian


37. Rue de la République (always with big traffic the week days)

38. Place du Peuple newly renovated (a tram line has been added)


40. Trams again (Eh!! this is one of Sainté symbols!)

41. Middle ages buidings known as "La droguerie de la Tour"

42. Again! on the Grand'rue

43. Nice building on Liberation Avenue



46. La Grande Poste

47. St Jean pedestrian street (the flashy yellow building: a revenge to
the mayor who forced Stéphanois to use yellow for renovation!! )

48. Brand new renovated "Halles": covered market

49. Beaux Arts (Fine arts school)

50. Another pedestrian street

51. Quartier St Jacques and Rue des Martyres de Vingré: Middle ages houses




55. La Grand'rue

56. Under the city hall


58. Reflects

59. Views from my appartment


61. Good night

These pics was taken last Sunday, early in the morning, which explains there's not a lot of people.
Week days there's many more but not too many cars as it's almost impossible to drive on the Grand' rue,
streets are narrow and many of them are one way only or pedestrian, Grand Cherockee or 4x4 Toyota still OK but Hummer is not recommended!

This is end for today, I will post more in next days to show the Cité du Design site which is still under construction.

Hope you enjoy this thread, in any case I enjoyed writting it even if it was a little bit difficult to resume the history of the city and translating it
into English at the same time, I hope I didn't make too many mistakes and that's understandable.

Last edited by Sandy; May 15, 2008 at 7:56 PM.
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