Saint-Étienne is a city in eastern central France. It is located in the Massif Central, 60 km southwest of Lyon in the Rhône-Alpes region. Saint-Étienne is the capital of the Loire département and has a population of approximately 178,500 in the city itself expanding to over 508,000 in the metropolitan area.
The city first appears in the historical record in the Middle Ages. In the 13th century it was a small borough around the church dedicated to Saint Etienne. 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. During the French revolution, Saint-Étienne was briefly renamed Armeville – ‘arms town’ – because of this activity. Later, it became a coal mining centre, and more recently has become known for its bicycle industry.
In 1990 Saint-Étienne set up a design biennale – the largest of its kind in France. It lasts around a month. The next convention will be in March 2015. 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. On 22 November 2010, it was nominated as “City of Design” as part of Unesco’s Creative Cities Network.
Football in Saint-Étienne
When you are from Saint-Étienne, one thing that you are supposed to love is: Football!
Indeed, ASSE (Association Sportive de Saint-Etienne Loire), also called “les verts” (the “greens”), is one of the most successful club in French football history. The club achieved the most of its honours in the 60s and 70s. It discoverd players such as Michel Platini or Aimé Jacquet (who coached the French national team to victory at 1998 FIFA World Cup).
ASSE plays its home matches near the conference venue at Geoffroy-Guichard stadium which is locally called “Le Chaudron” (the “cauldron”). This name comes from the fact that the atmosphere of the stadium is always “boiling”. Indeed, the supporters are known as some of the best supporters in France. If you are curious you can listen one of the most popular song about ASSE.