Saint-Nazaire has never dreamed of being a seaside resort, but the town has very actively developed its beautiful coast with beaches and coves, cliffs and promontories, a several kilometre-long public footpath and a recently redesigned seaside promenade. Saint-Nazaire however does not sacrifice its environment to development, and makes efforts to protect its coast.
When the German submarine base was built, between 1940 and 1942, taking the place of the former transatlantic terminal, the whole harbour site was dramatically changed. It is around the submarine pens, around the docks and harbour basin, Saint-Nazaire has both reconciled itself with its port and created an authentic and original tourist offer.
Saint-Nazaire is in the heart of a particularly attractive and varied region: from Nantes to the wild coast of Le Croisic, from the wide open beaches on the Loire’s South bank to the bay of La Baule, from the Guérande salterns to the wetland of the Grande Brière marshes, you will discover extraordinary landscapes as well as towns and villages with often remarkable heritage.
Just fifteen minutes away La Baule, Guérande, the BrièreWith its softly curved expanse of golden sand. The 9 km long bay of La Baule is the very image of seaside pleasure. As in the neighbouring resort of Pornichet, the beach is a celebrity in itself!
And for a change from lazing about on hot sand, there’s a lot to choose from: casinos and thalassotherapy, riding, sailing, tennis, or strolling along magnificent villas… At the far end of the bay, Le Pouliguen is the entry to the “Wild Coast.” All the way to Le Croisic, rugged cliffs brave the sea and the wind.
In the Middle Ages, the town of Guérande, whose Breton name “Gwenn Rann” means “the White Land”, was made rich by the salt trade. Inside the city walls from the 14th and 15th century, the old town with its narrow streets and beautiful stone houses is extremely charming. Then drive on to the salterns, a man-made landscape which is as unique as the salt that has been grown here since Roman times.
If salt was the region’s white gold, there also used to be black gold: peat from the Brière marshes. Walking, on a bike, in a traditional flat boat or a horse-drawn carriage, you will want to adapt a leisurely rhythm to explore the Brière, its seemingly endless canals and villages with countless thatched cottages.