Saint-Étienne (săNtātyĕn´), city (1990 pop. 201,569), capital of Loire dept., SE France, in the Massif Central. The metropolitan region occupies much of what was once a major coal-mining and steelmaking district. Manufactures include ribbons (famous since the 15th cent.), silk, bicycles, automobile parts, textile machinery, precision instruments, electronics, plastics, containers, and food products. The textile and silk industry began in the 11th cent.; firearms were produced beginning in the 16th cent., for Francis I. Today the armaments complex builds nuclear- and chemical-weapon-detection devices. The first steel plant was built in 1815, and in 1827 the city became the terminus of the first railroad in France. Points of interest include a medieval church and abbey, the 17th-century Church of St. Louis and Notre Dame, and a Palace of Arts.
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