Saint-Nazaire, is an unexpected discovery. A land of a thousand faces that complement each other without ever clashing: seaside and urban, supersized and intimate, historical and innovative, industrial and pastoral.
A harbour town, Saint-Nazaire is open to the whole world and to all people. With the Loire Estuary on one side and the Atlantic on the other, this is a great place to be, whether as a day visitor or a lifelong resident.
This maritime birthplace is inseparable from its history of naval construction, which has been part of Saint-Nazaire for over 150 years. In the heart of its renowned shipyard, many legendary Transatlantic liners have been brought to life, including the Normandie, in 1935, and the France, in 1962.
This tradition continues to this day, and the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyards build remarkable cruise ships, whilst also diversifying into renewable marine energies.
With the construction of the port, regular sailings to central America and the various shipyards that developed, Saint-Nazaire underwent an unprecedented boom starting in the 1850s, so much so that it earned the nickname ‘Little Breton California’. Extensively rebuilt after World War II, the town is a fine example of 1950s architecture.
As for artistic creation, the town is noted for its Street Art. In the Estuary area between the city of Nantes and Saint-Nazaire, large-scale contemporary artworks are part of the waterside landscape: Jardin du Tiers Paysage – Garden of the Third Landscape – by G. Clément, Suite de Triangles – Triangle Suite – by F. Varini.
Stretching over 3km in the heart of town, the Saint-Nazaire seafront promenade has been completely redone, starting at Place du Commando, which is the new social hub for Saint-Nazaire with its waterside cafés and restaurants. The promenade follows the trail to the GR34 coastal path as far as Pornichet, whose 1,150-berth marina attracts yachts and pleasure boats alike.
Further north, the Brière Wetlands extend across nearly 136,000 acres. Thatched roofs, a natural reserve for migrating birds, farmland, pastures, local craftspeople plus traditional flat-bottomed boats or ‘chalands’ offering day trips – they all contribute to the harmonious character of this exceptional, otherworldly space.
Saint-Nazaire in numbers:
- 350,000 visitors a year across all of its attractions: Espadon Submarine, Escal’Atlantic, Ecomuseum, EOL Wind-Turbine Centre, industry tours, boat trips and town tours.
- 20 creeks and beaches, three of which have the prestigious Blue Flag status.
- A Town of Art and History and tourism area since 2020.
- The Natural Regional Park of Brière is the 2nd-largest wetland in France.
- 36 hotels and apartment hotels, five of which have a 4-star rating.