Espadon 7 Espadon 7

Submarine Espadon

The extraordinary life of submariners

Come aboard the first French submarine to dive under the ice field beyond the Arctic Circle! Imagine yourself diving down into the depths of the sea… Go through the passageway, examine the listening post, be amazed by the impressive torpedo tubes… This unique and surprising tour will let you experience the life of submariners.

Booking recommended, departures every 30 minutes.

 

The first French submarine to dive under the ice field

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea… do you remember? Maybe the Nautilus, the submarine in French writer Jules Verne’s famous novel, was one of your childhood favourites. In Saint-Nazaire, you can visit a real submarine. During her 25-year-long military career, the Espadon (“Swordfish”) sailed under the seven seas. She was also the first French submarine to sail beyond the Arctic Circle. So, are you ready to shiver?

Imagine you dive down into the depths of the sea… Go through the passageway, examine the listening post, be amazed by the impressive torpedo tubes… The 65 crew members had to share cramped space and a single shower… A fascinating tour for young and old alike!

17 times the Earth’s circumference

This 78-meter-long submarine was built in Le Havre and put into service in 1960. The Espadon was able to dive for up to 5 or 6 days. Her electric engines (we are talking about a period well before nuclear submarines) ensured a top speed of 16 knots on the surface and 18 knots under water (approximately 18 and 20mph)

During her 25-year-long career, the Espadon spent 2,561 days at sea and 33,796 hours diving. She covered 360,547 nautical miles, i.e. approximately 17 times the Earth’s circumference! The Espadon was active during The Cold War but has never been involved in a military conflict. Towards the end of the tour you will see the impressive torpedo tubes: they were used regularly, but only for exercise.

Practical Information

Visitor Info:

  • Self-guided audio tour, approx. 30 minutes. The audioguides are available in 4 languages: French, English, German and Spanish.
  • Booking recommended, departures every 30 minutes.
  • Animals are not allowed, except guide dogs for the blind.
  • Themed tours: see the ‘Saison patrimoine’ programme.
  • See booking terms and conditions for groups of 20 people or more.

Prices – Submarine Espadon

Full Reduced* Children aged 4-17
€10 €8 €5

The more you see, the more you save!

#’PassPort 4 sites’ combination ticket
Escal’Atlantic + Submarine Espadon + Écomusée + EOL Centre éolien  – Valid till September 2020 (the submarine Espadon will be closed for renovation from this date).

Full Reduced* Children aged 4-17
€25 €12.50
#Pass Ecluse
EOL Centre éolien + Submarine Espadon
Full Reduced* Children aged 4-17
€13 €6.50

 

*Reduced price (on presentation of proof): students, job seekers, people with disabilities with one accompanying person

Free admission for children under the age of 4 and annual PASS holders

Where can I buy tickets?

  • On this website
  • On site, 3 ticket offices: submarine base, fortified lock and Écomusée

Means of payment: cash, credit card (VISA and Mastercard)


Booking recommended, departures every 30 minutes.

How to get here?

Espadon is located inside the fortified lock, Avenue de la Forme Ecluse, Saint-Nazaire.

There are several car parks close by.

Public transportation:

  • Saint-Nazaire is served by both the TGV and the regional trains.
  • From the railway station, the nearest bus stops to the submarine are:
    • ‘Rue de la Paix’ (Hélyce line, daily) + 17 minutes walk
    • ‘Ruban Bleu’ (U2 and U4 lines, from Monday to Saturday) + 14 minutes walk

Accessibility

  • Mobility impairment: the submarine is not wheelchair accessible
  • Deaf and hearing impaired visitors: no specific arrangement
  • Blind and visually impaired visitors: audio tour
  • Mentally impaired visitors: very confined space, presence of anxiety-inducing elements

For further clarification or information, please call +33 (0)2 28 540 640

We are committed to making sure our visitors have the most memorable experience possible. This also involves providing quality services to you at the Admissions desk of the fortified lock.

Free services

  • Phone charging stations
  • Lockers
  • Water cooler
  • Bottle warmer
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Bicycle park
  • Bicycle repair kit (available on request at the Admissions Desk)
  • Wi-Fi

The shop

At the heart of the fortified lock, right next to the Admissions Desk, the newly-equipped shop is waiting for you! A wide selection of gifts, souvenirs, books and games on the theme of submarines, wind power and more broadly the sea, are available for purchase. As for foodies, the shop offers a large array of local and regional products.

Shop & facilities

  • Services

    We are committed to making sure our visitors have the most memorable experience possible. This also involves providing quality services to you at the Admissions desk of the fortified lock.

    Free services

    • Phone charging stations
    • Lockers
    • Water cooler
    • Bottle warmer
    • Baby changing facilities
    • Bicycle park
    • Bicycle repair kit (available on request at the Admissions Desk)
    • Wi-Fi
  • Gift Shop

    Our Gift Shop

    At the heart of the fortified lock, right next to the Admissions Desk, the newly-equipped shop is waiting for you! A wide selection of gifts, souvenirs, books and games on the theme of submarines, wind power and more broadly the sea, are available for purchase. As for foodies, the shop offers a large array of local and regional products.

    Find out more about our gift shops

What our visitors think

“When visiting Saint-Nazaire it’s worth it to spend an hour and walk through a retired submarine. Kids loved it, parents were impressed”

“Visit of L’Espadon is very interesting for almost anyone, but for those interested in military history it is great, great, great. The audioguide is excellent.”

“How folk lived aboard these things is amazing. We stayed on an extra night just to go aboard. Well worth a visit.”