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The remarkable city of Saint Etienne is well worth a visit, and only a 45 minute drive away from the Roannais.
Saint Etienne is a city in eastern central France. It is located in the Massif Central, 60 km (37.28 miles) southwest of Lyon in the Rhône-Alpes region, along the trunk road that connects Toulouse with Lyon.
Saint-Étienne is the capital of the Loire département.
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 (trimmings for furniture and soft furnishings) 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.
Visit: Saint Etienne Tourisme