The green shirts of its famous football team, Les Verts. The renowned Biennale Internationale Design convention. And a proud history as a great industrial city of eastern France. Yet for all this tradition as both working and sporting centre of excellence, Saint-Etienne has even more to offer.
A place of contrasts, it is one of those large cities that also boast the advantages of a closer-knit community. A metropolitan hub of 400,000 inhabitants, Saint-Etienne's sporting and cultural attributes are never more apparent than in AS Saint-Étienne's famous 'Chaudron' football stadium – currently being redeveloped for UEFA EURO 2016 – and the Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, France's second-leading collection after the Centre Pompidou.
This big village is close to some fabulous countryside too: located some 500m above sea level, both the Pilat Regional Natural Park and the Loire gorges are situated on its doorstep.
Today's Saint-Etienne is a city capable of reinvention, of redesigning itself. It does not forget its history, rather it takes inspiration from it. The creativity once evident in its manufacturing past, now drives its efforts in the design sector – to the extent where Saint-Etienne is the only French city to have been made a UNESCO City of Design.
UEFA capacity: 41,500
Tenants: AS Saint-Étienne
Opened: September 1931
• Known affectionately as Le Chaudron (the Cauldron) due to its reputation for atmosphere, the stadium is named after the founder of the Casino retail chain, under whose auspices Saint-Étienne originally came into being.
• The only sizeable French ground in a downtown location, it was built on old mine tunnels and next to a steel factory, and in the early days fumes from the plant's chimneys were known to drift across the pitch.
• The stadium originally incorporated an athletics track, though this was removed in 1956 ahead of rebuilding work that moved supporters closer to the action.
• The venue hosted matches at the 1984 UEFA European Championship, 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2007 Rugby World Cup, undergoing renovation work in the run-up to each tournament.
• Famed in the past for an 'English-style' design due to its four separate stands, the ground is having a facelift and enlarging its capacity to 41,500. The programme aims to restructure the two ends of the ground, reconfigure the roof, close in the stadium's four corners and create new hospitality areas. The work is also being done with AS Saint-Étienne in situ and is due for completion in mid-2014.
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