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Discover Saint-Lo

An introduction to the town of Saint-Lo

The Manche Prefecture is, with a population of 20,862, the second town in the region after Cherbourg.

With its media library, fine art and Norman Hedged Farmland museums; its design and music schools; its Theatre the ‘Normandy’ - a reputed contemporary music centre (10,000 visitors per year) - Saint Lô targets excellence, original scheduling and access for all.

This is the ambition that prevails in the holding of festivals like Polyfollia (the World choral festival),Les Rendez-Vous Soniques (the festival of French language music) and Heteroclites. Today Saint Lô is recognised by both professionals and the public alike as a town of musical talent and the rock capital of the Manche region. Beyond this first mark of recognition, the aim is to extend its musical influence around urban music and cultures.

Saint Lô is also a town of expression and artistic creation, with support given by the Ateliers Arts Plume offering artists a place to express their talents, exhibit and reside in the centre of the town.

The cinema multiplex (9 screens, 1,350 seats) reinforce the diversity and originality on offer.

For more than 10 years the economic dynamism of Saint Lô has become apparent and this is all the more so given that the town has had to deal with several major industrial disasters (notably Moulinex and Euromoteurs). From this the town has bounced back: unemployment rate 5.4% in November, +3500 jobs, net creation in 10 years.

Saint Lô went onto the economic offensive and today is in a better position to attract new entrepreneurs and create high value jobs.

Simultaneously, the way it is viewed from the outside has changed. Today it has become a place of businesses, investment, innovation, research and creation (the regional agri-food centre, industrial refrigerated vehicles, secure electronic transactions, an equine centre, renewable energies...).

In terms of regional competition, Saint Lô has managed to position itself by leaning on its sectors of excellence and also its relocated academic network (1,700 students undertaking technical studies, FIM group, teacher training and at the school of agri-food engineers...). Such courses are in line with the requirements of companies both in and outside of the region. Today, this is an area which is considered part of the economy of knowledge, of great minds and new technologies, with 2 business clusters (the equine and secure electronic transactions sectors) and it is also a hub for the agri food industry.

The economic vitality of Saint Lô is also built on a range of local, quality shops that, along with SMEs, are suitable to satisfy the requirements of those living in the surrounding rural villages. Today Saint Lô is a dynamic built up area and the centre of life for the local population (nearly 80,000 inhabitants).

The vitality of Saint Lô is also based upon a collection of identified assets, factors that draw in people from the outside and contribute to the quality of life of those already living there:

  • it offers diverse, quality and personalised services. Saint Lô caters for every age-group : the Mersier and la Dollée leisure centres (places for local, cultural and leisure activities open to the town’s people and those from surrounding villages); the KIOSK card (that allows young people to access sporting, cultural and leisure services at a reduced price); services for the elderly (night visitors, SSIAD (nursing service at home), maintenance at home...) managed by the CCAS; a new innovative establishment for the elderly and dependent; an early years network and childminder centre (RAM); public and private health facilities (the Franco-American Memorial Hospital; a new Mother-child centre; the Saint Jean clinic and a mediation centre...).
  • a rich community life filled with activities. More than 250 associations, brought together by the Communities Office, contributing to make Saint Lô a lively town all year round where volunteers combine skills and generosity. The Fête de la Vire et des associations (a celebration held on the Vire river) is the high point.
  • a wealth of sporting activities. Saint Lô is a town with a high level of sporting participation per inhabitant (6,500 registered in clubs). The numerous infrastructures across the town offer every person, regardless of their age, to practice one of the 40 disciplines on offer within an adapted framework. The success of this is due to support the town gives to 60 associations. The success of the Holiday Sport scheme and the Aquatics Centre (more than 220,000 entrants a year including school children) well illustrates the predisposition of the Saint Lô people for sport, leisure and competition.
  • Furthermore Saint Lô lays claim to a real cultural identity. In Saint Lô culture is all around and both inhabitants and visitors find it in the form of a “dispersed museum”.

Finally, Saint Lô is a town with a pleasant standard of living that is worthy of greater tourism development :

The town is located at a crossroads. It appears as a “new country” – both at the heart of the North West and at the centre of a polygon of development: the Parisian area to the east; Brittany to the west; and to the north the English Channel, its maritime traffic and English coastline.

The road network has been fundamentally changed with the construction of the motorway A84 autoroute des Estuaires, which passes to the south of the town and by making the RD 174 between Cotentin and the A84 two-lane dual carriageway.

These two roads, facilitating exchanges and communication, further serve as “potential diffusers for development”. There are plenty of opportunities afoot to use these to deploy a strategy to develop the economy and those services provided by the area as well as its heritage and touristic assets.

This road access has played a significant role in the economic development of the CCASL (the Community of Municipalities of Saint Lô and its Suburbs) and the strategy of welcoming ambitious businesses: workshops, business incubators etc.

To the road development has just been added a digital overhaul (high speed broadband for business has been awaited since the end of 2008/start of 2009; TNT (digital terrestrial television); EMA multimedia access) and there has also been a redevelopment of the rail links. A direct SNCF (high speed rail) link from Saint-Lô and Paris has been proposed from the end of the year.

Finally, Caen Carpiquet airport is 45 minutes from Saint-Lô. A notable advantage for business or travel. (Three links: Lyon / Tours / London in one hour)

The urban transport network (TUSA) and the shuttle buses (OCITOLA) have been a great success and further developments are in the pipeline - even a scheme for self-service bicycles.

  • It is a town with controlled urban development that undertakes projects (residentialization, diversity, 40% social housing) where plant life and minerals are the priority (the colour of building fronts, the listed fortifications, the listed Memorial Hospital and €28M of urban redevelopment for Val Saint Jean).
  • It is a green town. The banks of the Vire, the Green Beach, towpath, barges, open air activities, an urban park and compact golf...Saint Lô offers tourists and families a green jewel and an amazing sense of relaxation. The presence of water in the town and the flowing character of the town must be emphasised.
  • It is a town of memory and history (the route of the liberation, the Madeleine chapel...) facing towards the future and towards peace that has been nominated as a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site status on account of the symbolic sites associated with the Normandy Landings.
  • Saint Lô remains, for many outside visitors, the Capital of equestrianism with the Haras but also an event such as the Normandy Horse Show, which takes place every August, and the many shows throughout the year at the Centre de Promotion de l’Elevage (the Centre to Promote Breeding) including the Saint Lô CSI.

In Saint Lô, the priority is given to jobs and welcoming new businesses and residents. For this, the town offers attractive real estate and engages in a dynamic land policy.

The spirit of enterprise but also the quality of services on offer are considered to be indivisible.

A Prefecture Town (with 40% of public jobs), Saint Lô wants to give every person the conditions for them to succeed.

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