|Saint-Etienne is an unlikely sort of city. It is a highly-developed on an industrial level, but is not linked to major trunk routes ; it was built at the very gateway to the South of France, but it is more closely identified with northern cities. |
Saint-Etienne is above all an unknown city. Its historical coverage is often simplified, dealing only with the « American style » development period which started in the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution.
Legends handed down as regards the founding of the city emphasize the importance of a site given to metal-working activities, but difficult to reach : the broken sword of the Roman legionnaire, Labienus, coming out of the waters of the Furan unharmed ; the valley sheltering « metal-workers » cut off from the world, hermits who were masters of fire and water, suspected of being in league with the devil.
Nonetheless, these myths do at least reveal one truth : Saint-Etienne was indeed a city in its own right, dedicated to iron-working. Its economic expansion was to benefit from the driving force resulting from numerous torrents, from the potential of Furan water for quenching metals and the progress that its inventors forced out of it. This did not eliminate a certain tendency to self sufficiency in an enclosed, semi-mountainous country...
63 pages, 83 color photographs, also available in French.
Price : 7.47 Euros + postage.
Tableau du Voeu de peste (Eglise St-Etienne). Click here for a large view.
"Manufrance". A famous company of Saint-Etienne in the World between the end of WW2 and the 70's.