Just because it’s a small city doesn’t mean that Saint-Étienne is without its charms. There are a number of museums in the city for those seeking out a spot of culture and education, with a lot focussed on the heritage and history of the region itself. One such example is the Musée d’art et d’Industrie on Place Louis Comte. Exhibitions cover 3 floors of the building and focus on the city’s industrial heritage, with the major industries of cycling, weapons and textiles. Along similar lines is the Parc-Muséé de la Mine (boulevard Maréchal) - a listed historic monument and an exponent of the city’s mining heritage.
There’s cultural history on offer, too, with the history of the region’s resistance efforts housed in the Memorial de la Résistance et de la Déportation (rue du Théatre), which houses photos, testimonials and artefacts from the second world war.
Outside the city there are a number of chateaux, including the 11th century Chateau de Saint-Victor in Saint Victor sur-Loire to the west of the city. Surrounded by gardens, it is a local cultural centre (more at chateau-saint-victor.com). The village is also the departure point for a number of Loire cruises, which are very popular ways to explore the region.
Saint-Étienne were also the first French club to have their own museum, and you can take a trip back through the history of this iconic French club (and view such items as the infamous square goalposts from Hampden Park) at 14 rue Paul et Pierre Guichard.
For those interested in architecture, Le Corbusier established his biggest architectural complex in nearby Firminy, while for art lovers there’s always the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in nearby Saint-Priest-en-Jarez to the north of the city has a collection of 20th and 21st century art to rival any museum outside Paris.