Settled in the 12th century, St Etienne remained a quiet mountain town until the 1800s when it began growing as an important mining and industrial city, becoming a large producer of coal, weapons and bicycles. These days the city is less focused on industry, and is now a centre for design, the arts, and has an important focus on culture and innovative thinking. Surrounded by scenic fields, mountains and forests, St Etienne is the perfect city to visit for a few days if you are touring France with your car hire. Auto Europe offers several pick up locations and a large fleet selection, so finding a car rental in St Etienne is both easy and economical.
A great way to become familiar with the area and realise just how beautiful it is, is to drive your rental car a little south of the city and visit Guizay hill. At almost 1000m high, the hill provides amazing views of St Etienne and the surrounding area. Back in the city, you can take your pick from a number of galleries and museums, or just enjoy a day exploring the city and stop off in one of the many public squares for a meal or coffee.
On the way back into the city, check out Astronef, the city's planetarium which is just south of the city centre. Filled with excellent displays on astronomy, space exploration and other similar topics, a visit here is fun for the whole family. Another one of the best known attractions in St Etienne is Musee d'Art Moderne, the museum of modern art. Jump in your hire car and head a little north of the city centre to the museum, which is regarded as second only to Paris as a collection of modern art in France.
For a scenic daytrip, why not tour the mountains in your rental car, and enjoy the magnificent scenery. Discover forests, lakes, and classic villages, while you see the area at your own pace. If you are touring the area to the north of the city, be sure to visit Bastie d'Urfe, a 14th century castle which has been preserved in excellent condition. Just one of the many great attractions ready for you to discover in the area!
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