What to do in Saint-Nazaire ?
Saint-Nazaire, once called the “little Breton California” is a dynamic city that is constantly seeking to renew itself and is worth a visit if you stay in our 4 star Pornic campsite less than 30 minutes away. The reputation of the city was made around the shipyards, Saint-Nazaire offers much more to discover and surprises by its diversity.
Visit the submarine base
Before World War II, Saint-Nazaire was the embarkation point for transatlantic cruises to Mexico, Cuba and Panama.
But with the construction of the submarine base in 1941 and the arrival of the Germans, the face of the city changed. Indeed, the submarine base of Saint-Nazaire is one of the five bases built on the Atlantic coast by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
In the 1990s, Saint-Nazaire decided to launch the Ville-Port urban project in order to reappropriate the site and create an original cultural and tourist offer.
The unusual buildings house various places to visit such as the Escal’Atlantic, or cultural creations such as the Life (Lieu International des Formes Émergentes).
Take a trip to the land of the liners
In the heart of the submarine base, Escal’Atlantic transports you into the fascinating history of cruise ships and allows you to immerse yourself on 3500 m² in the architecture of a ship.
Escal’Atlantic makes you a visitor-traveler, indeed by exploring the places you will relive the great adventure of the liners and will put your steps in those of the travelers of former days.
This universe recreates the interior of a ship and offers a total immersion in the universe of these crossings among spaces that will take you from the hold to the deck, through the cabins decorated with objects from mythical ships such as the France or the Normandie.
Stroll along the waterfront
Saint-Nazaire offers one of the most pleasant places to walk on its waterfront promenade, located next to the Wilson and Albert I boulevards. In recent years, the city has planted trees, created lawns and expanded the promenade.
You will be able to admire an unobstructed view of the ocean as well as various commemorative monuments, such as the one of the sinking of the HMS Lancastria and the one of the recapture of Saint-Nazaire by the Americans at the end of the Second World War.
To vibrate within the festival Les Escales
Les Escales is an urban festival that takes place in the city center, on the port of Saint-Nazaire. If you stay in a campsite in Saint Nazaire in July, it’s an unmissable event that takes place at the end of the month and offers 3 days of pop, world, rock and electro concerts with an international program and beautiful musical discoveries.
Explore the bowels of the Swordfish, a military submarine
This submarine was installed in the fortified lock of the port and was given to the city about 30 years ago in order to offer visitors a dive into its amazing entrails. The Espadon was the first French submarine to dive beyond the Arctic Circle.
Today, it reveals to the public the secrets of the life of its crew and offers a complete immersion in the daily life of these sailors. You can then continue the visit on the panoramic terrace of the lock and enjoy a 360° view of the Loire estuary and the city-port.
Discover the models of the Ecomuseum
On the port, in front of the shipyards, the Ecomuseum is a small permanent exhibition on Saint-Nazaire and its naval heritage.
Rich collections retrace the history of Saint-Nazaire, a city rebuilt twice in a century and almost totally destroyed during the Second World War, through an impressive collection of models representing the city of yesteryear, the port but also legendary ships.
Stroll through the Jardin des plantes
Next to the Promenade de Front de Mer, the Jardin des Plantes was laid out in 1884 by the landscape architect M. Aubry.
This green space of 19,543 m² is a real haven of peace and tranquility for walkers and presents many plant species, specific to the coast but also essences of the Mediterranean. It even has a rose garden and a sentinel pollinarium.
Relax on one of the 20 beaches of Saint-Nazaire
If the beach of the sea front, close to the mouth of the Loire, is not suitable for swimming, Saint-Nazaire nevertheless has about twenty beaches, three of which have the Blue Flag label.
From small confidential coves hidden between the cliffs to large family beaches, there is something for everyone in Saint-Nazaire!
Take a look at the Halles de Penhoët
On the eastern side of Saint-Nazaire, the port is extended by the Penhoët district, historically the city’s working-class heart.
There are beautiful halls dating from 1878. During the Second Empire, they were installed in the city center before being dismantled and reinstalled in Penhoët in 1936. It is the oldest public building in the city.
Admire the Saint-Nazaire Bridge
The bridge over the estuary was put into service 40 years ago and still holds the record for the longest bridge in France at 3,356 meters long.
It is a major work of art in France and in the Loire-Atlantique region, which also represents an essential vector of economic development for the Nazairian basin and the Pays de Retz.
Experience an exceptional industrial adventure
Many legendary liners are built in Saint-Nazaire, the visit of the shipyards plunges you into the heart of a rare industrial adventure revealing exceptional know-how. Chantiers de l’Atlantique is one of the largest, oldest and most innovative shipyards in the world.
Through the “streets” of the shipyards, you will discover the workshops and the assembly holds. You will witness a captivating and spectacular show!