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Place Saint-Étienne | Photo: Didier Descouens via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]

If you know you want to visit France, but are unsure of where to book your holiday, you may wish to consider the beautiful city of Saint-Etienne.

Located approximately 60 km southwest of Lyon in Massif Central, the city of Saint-Etienne offers visitors an enjoyable array of activities, such as museums, shopping and an exciting nightlife. The following attractions should be placed on your must-see list when you visit this engaging city:


New Museum of Modern Art

If you enjoy museums you will not want to miss a visit to the New Museum of Modern Art. Designed by Didier Guichard and located in the district of La Terrasse, the museum houses outstanding collections that have earned the establishment a spot on the list of France’s top museums. If you are a fan of Picasso, Picabia or the German Neo-Expressionists you will not regret a trip to Saint-Etienne’s New Museum of Modern Art.

Saint Etienne-Museum of Art and Industry
Saint Etienne-Museum of Art and Industry | Photo Credits: Daniel Villafruela via Wikimedia Commons

Church of Saint-Etienne

If you or anyone in your party enjoys exploring ancient architecture, a trip to the Church of Saint-Etienne is a wise choice. You will be mesmerized as you wander through this massive 15th century structure and transport yourself to the era of the Holy Wars. The church is an impressive location in which to take pictures, so make sure your camera is ready before embarking upon a trip to this impressive structure.

Saint-Etienne cathedral

The Saint-Etienne Planetarium

With its real-time scintillator and video projector, the Saint-Etienne Planetarium is another must-see attraction. Open seven days a week, the planetarium offers a glimpse into the galaxies, stars and planets that make up our universe. You may also be interested to know that the establishment became France’s first 3-D planetarium in January of 2012.

Saint-Etienne 3D Planetarium
Saint-Etienne 3D Planetarium


Whilst shopping is quaint in Saint-Etienne, and consists mostly of modest-sized stores and markets, you will find this appealing for several reasons. For instance, the one-on-one assistance you will find in most shops and markets will likely be a refreshing change from what you may be accustomed to when shopping in larger cities. You will find shop owners helpful and friendly, and prices quite reasonable.


Restaurants and Nightlife

The city of Saint-Etienne also boasts great food and a colourful nightlife. Restaurants such as the Table of Ly and the Insens are two of the city’s most popular eateries, and rarely receive a bad review by any first-time visitor.

If you and your party enjoy nightclubs and bars you should definitely visit the Smoking Dog or the Saint Patrick Irish Pub, both of which are open seven nights a week and keep serving until the crowd is gone.

The sights and sounds you hope to find when on holiday just might be awaiting you in Saint-Etienne. Visit this unique and engaging area of France for your next excursion and you will likely be pleased with your experience. Regardless of the activities or attractions you choose during your sojourn, a visit to this lovely French city is guaranteed to be the experience of a lifetime.