Saint-Étienne is a thriving technological and industrial center that is home to one of the most important museums of contemporary art in France. The location at the foot of the Central Massif also makes it a good base for trips to the area, including the Loire Gorge.
The city has medieval roots, but is basically devoid of historical monuments. From the 16th century, its history was mainly related to industry. Initially, gunpowder and weapons were produced here, in the 17th century textiles, mainly ribbons, were added to it, and in the 19th century Saint-Étienne became one of the main centers of coal mining in France. Currently, the city is undergoing transformation and uses its potential in cultural and technological development and at the interface between these two areas.
Saint-Étienne's main attraction is the local Museum of Modern Art, which houses France's largest collection of works by 20th and early 21st century artists. The city is also home to the Mining Museum on the site of a former coal mine. It includes both the above-ground exhibitions and the opportunity to visit mining galleries.
The Saint-Étienne area is very picturesque. There is the Loire Gorge, a deep river valley with wooded slopes. In its surroundings, you can visit small, historic towns and villages as well as several medieval castles.