Rue Saint-Sauveur, Le Creusot.
©Rue Saint-Sauveur, Le Creusot.|Lesley Williamson

In working-class housing estates

to remember neighborhood life

Built around its original industrial heart, Le Creusot grew with the factory and has a very distinctive morphology, unlike most towns.

To house its workers, the factory built a large number of houses, forming true neighborhoods: cités ouvrières. Discover these evocatively-named housing estates, which preserve a part of the city’s memory. Off you go!

At Combe des Mineurs

Welsh houses in Le Creusot?

Located away from the town center, La Combe des Mineurs is one of Le Creusot’s oldest neighborhoods. With their typical architecture, the small houses almost give the area a British atmosphere.

When the British Manby and Wilson bought the foundry in 1826, they brought workers from Great Britain to work in their new factory. To accommodate them, they built a complex of 41 lime-coated brick dwellings based on a Welsh model: two-storey houses built into the hillside with direct access to the street on each floor. Opposite the dwellings, lean-to buildings serve as annexes.

Schneider paternalism

Villedieu and Saint-Eugène housing estates

Établissements Schneider soon decided to build individual houses for workers, each with its own small garden. Models of these buildings were exhibited in the Schneider pavilion at world fairs. This was the company’s way of communicating its major projects and promoting its social policy.

The Villedieu and Saint-Eugène housing estates date from 1865 and 1875 respectively. As you stroll through them, you’ll discover evocative street names that recall the events of the time. Rue de Solférino and Rue de Sébastopol run through Cité Villedieu, in memory of the battles of the Second Empire. In Saint-Eugène, street names evoke faraway lands, from the time of the French colonial empire: rue d’Algérie, rue du Sénégal, place du Tonkin… That’s why it’s nicknamed the “City of the Colonies”.

The Heritage House

In the Saint-Eugène housing estate, rue des Colonies, one house has been preserved and recreates whatworking-class housing might have been like at the beginning of the last century. A true reminder of working-class life in the past.

Home to Nouvelles éditions du Creusot, the Maison des Patrimoines can be visited by appointment, and also hosts temporary exhibitions.

Housing for employees and executives

In addition to the workers’ housing estates, housing for employees and executives was also built. They were designed to reflect the social status of the inhabitants.

Close to the Hôtel-Dieu, the city’s hospital, which also owed its existence to the factory, the Saint-Sauveur housing estate was built in 1905 for employees. Here, semi-detached houses with gated gardens resemble pavilions, lining a tree-lined avenue.

At the very top of the factory hierarchy, senior managers and directors were given opulent homes with slate roofs, panelled interiors and wooded gardens.

Urban stroll

on your own

To discover Le Creusot’s workers’ housing estates, take along the tour booklet available from the Tourist Office.

On sale at the reception desk for €2, it allows you to learn more about the history of Le Creusot and discover its secrets thanks to its two itineraries. One of them will take you through several of the districts described above.

The workers' housing estates of Le Creusot

How do I get there?

Pushing the adventure