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Old Posted Feb 3, 2008, 11:32 PM
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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------------------------------------------------------------------->>>>>



2.



3. Courriot coal mine shaft which became a museum



4.



5. From the Clapier railroad station



6. The museum entrance



7. I guess this is mine workers' protector



8. The old weapons factory



9.



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



11. No comment



12.



13. Some views of the city



14.



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



18.



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)



20.



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



25.



26.



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



28.



29.



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



31.



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)



34.



35. Place Dorian



36.



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



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



39.



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



44.



45.



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



52.



53.



54.



55. La Grand'rue



56. Under the city hall



57.



58. Reflects



59. Views from my appartment



60.



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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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2008, 2:05 AM
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M II A II R II K M II A II R II K is online now
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Definitely a great looking place.
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2008, 9:23 PM
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Not many comments, maybe I should have wait to post another thread on St Etienne.

Anyway, here's some pics from The Cité du Design, it's being built on the former national arms factory, most of the old buildings will be renovated and a new one will be added : the "deck" and an observatory tower reminding a coal mine shaft.
It'll have in the same place a school, exhibition areas, a research center, auditorium... its purpose will be to unite all players in the design industry.
St Etienne has already The international biennal event of design, so this project, led by the architect Finn Geipel, will help to achieve the city's goal to become the undisputed design capital of France. (http://www.st-etienne-metropole.com/The-city-of-design-Saint-etienne.html)

1. The Finn Geipel project(http://www.agglo-st-etienne.fr/decou...tre_design.htm)



2. GE (the tower is still laid down) and Virtual Earth views (St Etienne is in high res in both)



3.



4. Entering former national arms factory (big part of our industrial past we've just discovered, about 2 years ago, this place as the whole site was surrounded with high walls: nothing should be seen!)



5. Caution: military zone, no trespassing



6. Old buildings on the background and the construction of the "deck" on the foreground



7.



8. The clock building (missing it has been stolen )



About just 2 years before:


(http://vieux.saint.etienne.club.fr/patrimoiMAS.htm#2)


(http://www.forez-info.com/component/option,com_copperminevis/Itemid,138/place,displayimage/album,7/pos,6/)

9. The observatory tower (28 meters: 92 feet)



10.



11.



12. Inside



13.



14.



15. Still a long work to go...



16.



17. The clock building's back



18.



19. This part is almost finished



20.



21.



22.



23. "Street art" ???



24. Optics and Vision research center (part of Jean Monnet University) which has just been rehabilitated built on the GIAT factory site, the recent name of the weapons factory until 2000 when it closed: Groupement Industriel de l'Armée de Terre: Army Industrial Group.



25.



26.



All these pics except those I credited was taken by me.

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  #4  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2008, 9:30 PM
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Minato Ku Minato Ku is offline
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Really nice
I did not knew Saint Etienne, only it is tram wich is not Citadis ore a TMF like most french light rails.

I used to see often the platform of St Etienne station in the end of 90's.
For going to Lyon, I used the nantes Lyon corail line. Now I live in paris, so I take the TGV.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2008, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
Definitely a great looking place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato Ku View Post
Really nice
I did not knew Saint Etienne, only it is tram wich is not Citadis ore a TMF like most french light rails.

I used to see often the platform of St Etienne station in the end of 90's.
For going to Lyon, I used the nantes Lyon corail line. Now I live in paris, so I take the TGV.
Thanks for your comments!!

The Nantes Lyon line, it's a very long trip, and still today, I've some friends using Lorient - St Etienne, there are several connections, it's almost a 12 hours trip!!
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  #6  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2008, 3:01 PM
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Excellent! It looks a lot different from my photos of 2006.

I'll have to plan for a return visit in 2009 when the Cité du Design is done. You are very lucky to live in a great city. You have a good location, close to Lyon, on a major rail line, and your apartment is in an excellent location as well.

I can't wait to return.
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2008, 9:03 PM
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Thanks, and yes the city has being really improved since the last 2/3 years, and there's still many projects underway, I think within about 5 years, St Etienne will have a new face and will definitely lost its black & worker's city nickname.
However, in 1 month, we'll have municipals elections in France, and our Mayor may lose his position then make a break/stop to urban development.

The thing is, all these projects, those already finished as the new ones, for instance the development of a new business district located near Châteaucreux railroad station (where Casino group headquarter has just moved to its brand new building ), cost a lot of money with the risk for the city to go bankrupcy that's why attracting new companies and investors from outside is the main goal and issue of St Etienne Métropole.
So, we'll see what will be the future.

Anyway, if you come here next year, PM me we could organize something: a what's new visit!
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  #8  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2008, 9:09 PM
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Quote:
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
and its also the beautiful city that gave the world this beautiful and kick ass sexy gun: The famas



http://www.mirage2000.com.tw/images/...n/FAMAS-F1.jpg
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2008, 10:04 PM
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yes, written just a few lines below your quote! sorry for that but we're not the only place on earth to produce guns!!
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Old Posted Feb 8, 2008, 2:36 AM
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I'm going to france in a month or two....how far is st-etienne from Paris and far is it from Nice respectively?
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Old Posted Feb 8, 2008, 4:14 AM
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Rico, it's about 2 hours by TGV train from Paris, if you get the direct train to St. Etienne. If you don't get the direct one, you have to transfer in Lyon. Then it's about 2+30 hours give or take.

I'm not sure from Nice.
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 8, 2008, 5:19 AM
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Thanks!
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Old Posted Feb 8, 2008, 6:07 AM
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Sound as if everybody wants to come to St Etienne, thanks for the interest.
And yes Border City boy is right, nearly 3 hours from Paris, 2 hours to reach Lyon, which worth to be visited, then 1 hour to St Etienne, with TGV or other train (this part of the line is not speedy). I don't know exactly from Nice but I'll check.
There's many things to visit around here, how long long will you stay in France?
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Old Posted Feb 8, 2008, 7:18 AM
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There's many things to visit around here, how long long will you stay in France?
Ca depend, je fais un tour a Nice puis en suite je me bounce pour paris ou je reste pendent une ou deux semaines et en suite je ne sais pas, je veux improviser, aller explorer la france interieur et puis peut-etre aller vers Instabul et peut-etre plus loins!
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2008, 7:01 AM
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Si tu fais un stop dans la région avant de remonter sur Paris : Nice Lyon avec le TGV, il faut compter 4h30 environ d'après ce que j'ai pu trouvé sur le site web de la sncf, puis Lyon St Etienne, 1h avec le TER.
Voilà!
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Old Posted Feb 11, 2008, 12:18 AM
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Delightful city!
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  #17  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2008, 8:59 PM
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Thanks! but still a lot of work to do!
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  #18  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2008, 2:00 AM
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nice shots. beautiful city. well done.
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  #19  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2008, 7:22 AM
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St. Etienne looks great. I'm especially digging that first pano. Nice job!
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  #20  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Nice, pretty much all I knew about this city was the football club. Sainté certainly is a classic team - so are Magic Fans 91 and Green Angels.
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