© Arnaud Dréan

Saint‑Marc‑sur‑Mer

and the beach of Monsieur Hulot

Located 8km west of Saint-Nazaire centre, Saint-Marc-sur-Mer is our little seaside district. Suffice to say that Saint-Marc has everything it needs to seduce any visitor: the charms of an old-world neighbourhood, an unspoilt coastline, a magnificent beach famous for featuring in a classic French film (Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot), a well-known beachfront hotel, a twilight market in summer, and several authentic bars and restaurants. In other words, in Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, you can explore, swim, sunbathe, and dine at sunset: now you understand why you simply have to come!

Saint-Marc-sur-Mer

A beachfront neighbourhood

A bit of history…

Initially, Saint-Marc was just a hamlet centred around a farm, a water mill and a chapel (hence the name). Bit by bit, from the 1800s, Saint-Marc started to transform into a seaside resort. Saint-Nazaire was growing and certain well-to-do locals took notice of this unspoilt little retreat on the coast. The first impressive villas built here were referred to as ‘chalets’, a misleading name for such grand properties surrounded by magnificent, landscaped gardens and these are synonymous with the initial phase of coastal development, the picturesque period. Over the years that followed, the benefits of the fresh, sea air became more popular, and rail links and new roads made the area more accessible to everyone. More modest properties were built in groups, and even orphanages and summer camps began to appear. In the early 1900s, even the poorest classes got the taste for the sea and started looking for seaside resorts that would welcome them: Saint-Marc seemed to be the answer. This beautiful spot fell victim to its own attractions during World War Two, as the Germans fortified the area, built camps and requisitioned the villas. Not long after the war, however, Saint-Marc was drawing holiday-makers once more. Its unique seaside atmosphere proved irresistible. French film-maker Jacques Tati made a fine decision when he chose this as the setting for his new film, Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Mr Hulot’s Holiday), in 1951!

Today…

Saint-Marc-sur-Mer is a sought-after area, a lovely place to enjoy the good life. Full of charm and calm, it’s an especially good spot in which to spend a weekend or a holiday, and families love it! Take a stroll around the market on Sunday morning, climb up Rue du Commandant Charcot and take time to recover with a drink in a pavement café or try a local speciality. In summer, enjoy the street theatre and other shows on offer thanks to the event ‘Saint-Nazaire Côté Plages’, or visit the night market on Fridays. Explore the coastal path and you’ll discover an unspoilt shore, as well as fabulous sea views. And of course, you have to go and visit the famous beach of Monsieur Hulot, still proudly surveyed by the Hôtel de la Plage.

Plage de Monsieur Hulot

Our star beach

Silence please, we’re sunbathing!

If you think you’ve seen the main beach at Saint-Marc somewhere before, with its distinctive jetty, group of rocks and its Hôtel de la Plage, don’t be surprised. Here, you’re in the place where the classic French comedy movie, Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot, was filmed. Director Jacques Tati, seeking a fine natural setting, chose Saint-Marc-sur-Mer for its family atmosphere and its magnificent beach.

The film was shot back in 1951… but the comic hero of the movie is still on-set… thanks to a bronze statue by sculptor Emmanuel Debarre! So Monsieur Hulot continues to watch over his beach, which has been very officially renamed the Plage de Monsieur Hulot!

More information on the Plage de Monsieur Hulot

Walks and strolls

in Saint-Marc-Sur-Mer

Saint-Marc-Sur-Mer is a fantastic place for those who appreciate surprising and varied landscapes. There’s something for all tastes, from following the coastal path to strolling along the enchanting beaches and coves, or simply walking while admiring the town’s historical and natural heritage. Take a look at the most beautiful walking trails in Saint-Marc-Sur-Mer, to enjoy with friends or family.

Where to eat and sleep

in Saint-Marc-sur-Mer

Here are some of our top tips for restaurants and accommodation that will help you to fully appreciate the charm of Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, whether it’s just for a meal or a longer break.