Exploring Saint-Nazaire: A Comprehensive Travel Guide

Exploring Saint-Nazaire: A Comprehensive Travel Guide

Exploring Saint-Nazaire: A Comprehensive Travel Guide

Welcome to Saint-Nazaire, a vibrant coastal town located in the Loire-Atlantique department of western France. Situated at the mouth of the Loire River and the Atlantic Ocean, this beautiful city offers a myriad of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. From its rich maritime history to its stunning beaches and lively cultural scene, Saint-Nazaire is a destination that has something to offer everyone.

Getting There

Saint-Nazaire is easily accessible by various means of transportation. The nearest international airport is Nantes Atlantique Airport, located approximately 50 kilometers away. From the airport, you can take a direct train to Saint-Nazaire or rent a car and drive along the scenic coastal route. If you prefer to travel by train, Saint-Nazaire has its own train station with regular connections to major cities in France.

Things to See and Do

Saint-Nazaire Submarine Base

One of the most iconic attractions in Saint-Nazaire is the Submarine Base, also known as the Base Sous-Marine. Built during World War II, this massive concrete structure served as a German U-boat base. Today, it has been transformed into a cultural center that hosts various exhibitions, concerts, and events throughout the year. Explore the underground bunkers, learn about the history of the base, and admire the impressive architecture.


For a unique maritime experience, visit Escal'Atlantic, a museum dedicated to the history of ocean liners. Dive into the world of luxury travel as you explore meticulously recreated ship interiors, including cabins, dining rooms, and even the engine room. Learn about the golden age of transatlantic crossings and imagine the adventures of passengers from years past.

Beaches and Water Sports

Saint-Nazaire boasts several beautiful beaches where you can relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy the refreshing Atlantic breeze. Plage de M. Hulot is one of the most popular beaches in the area, named after a character from the famous French film "Mr. Hulot's Holiday." If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try your hand at various water sports such as windsurfing, paddleboarding, and sailing.

Saint-Nazaire Shipyard

As one of the largest shipyards in Europe, the Saint-Nazaire Shipyard is a must-visit for maritime enthusiasts. Take a guided tour of the shipyard and witness the impressive construction of cruise ships and other vessels. You can also visit the Ecomuseum, which provides a fascinating insight into the history and evolution of shipbuilding in the region.

Where to Eat

Saint-Nazaire offers a diverse culinary scene, with plenty of options to satisfy every palate. From traditional French cuisine to international flavors, here are some dining establishments you should check out:

  • La Cantine by Châteaubriant: Indulge in delectable French dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients at this charming restaurant.
  • Le Grain de Sable: This beachfront restaurant offers stunning views of the ocean along with a menu featuring fresh seafood and regional specialties.
  • Le Quai des Saveurs: Enjoy a memorable dining experience at this elegant establishment, known for its creative cuisine and exceptional service.

Where to Stay

When it comes to accommodations, Saint-Nazaire offers a range of options to suit various budgets and preferences. Whether you're looking for luxury hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts, or self-catering apartments, you're sure to find the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate during your stay. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Hôtel Le Bretagne: Located in the heart of the city, this charming hotel offers comfortable rooms and a friendly atmosphere.
  • Hôtel Hermitage: Set in a historic building near the beach, this boutique hotel combines old-world charm with modern amenities.
  • Airbnb Rentals: If you prefer a home-away-from-home experience, consider booking a vacation rental through Airbnb. There are numerous options available throughout Saint-Nazaire.

Explore the Surrounding Area

If you have more time to spare, consider exploring the surrounding area and discovering the natural beauty and cultural attractions nearby. Here are a few recommendations:

  • La Baule: Just a short drive from Saint-Nazaire, La Baule is renowned for its beautiful sandy beach and upscale seaside resort atmosphere.
  • Guerande: Step back in time as you explore the medieval walled town of Guerande, known for its salt marshes and charming cobblestone streets.
  • Nantes: Take a day trip to the vibrant city of Nantes, located about 60 kilometers from Saint-Nazaire. Visit the famous Château des Ducs de Bretagne, stroll along the picturesque riverfront, and immerse yourself in the city's art and culture scene.

With its captivating history, stunning beaches, and diverse attractions, Saint-Nazaire is a destination that will leave you with lasting memories. Begin your exploration of this enchanting city and its surroundings, and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of western France.