Saint Etienne France

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Description: Open source travel guide to Saint-Etienne, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.

The city is situated on the Furan or Furens River at the foot of the Pilat Massif. It is around 59km (37 miles) southwest of Lyon and 53km (33 miles) from Vienne.

A legend states that in Roman times, it was a settlement with the name Furanum. from the name of the Furan River. The name was then changed to Furania. a name it would keep until the Middle Ages.

The first written traces of the city's history date to 1258 when the town was called Sancti Stephani de Furano after Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne in French).

The town, known for its arms industry, was briefly renamed Armeville or Commune d'Armes (Arms Town) during the French Revolution.

Saint-Étienne was a long secondary town, less influential administratively and politically than Montbrison or Feurs. which was the prefecture of the Loire Department. It was only in 1855 that Saint-Étienne became the prefecture of the Loire Department due to its rapid industrial development and population growth.

However, Saint-Étienne had been an important center for metalworking since the 15th century. Weapons manufacture was predominant with of production of blades transitioning into production of firearms at the time of the Italian Wars of King Francis I. Small metalwork was also present, though, and the manufacture of ribbons and trim also developed in the 16th century.

During the industrial revolution, Saint-Étienne developed heavy metalworking and extensive exploitation of coal mining.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the local arms industry was dominated by the military production of the Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne (Saint-Étienne Arms Works or MAS) and the Manufacture française d'armes et cycles (French Arms and Cycle Works), or Manufrance. as well as numerous small manufacturers of civilian firearms. Despite the closure of Manufrance many of the small manufacturers remained.

The first railroad in France was laid in Saint-Étienne starting in 1823. It linked the Saint-Étienne with Andrézieux to transport coal from the mines along the Loire River. A second line was constructed between Saint-Étienne and Lyon to transport freight and passengers.

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