©SNAT 2019|Alexandre Lamoureux

Through the neighbourhoods of Saint-Nazaire

Discovering Saint-Nazaire means taking time to stroll and feel the atmospheres of the different neighbourhoods in the city…
From Méan-Penhoët, to La Havane, via the surprising Petit Maroc district, you will travel without leaving town!

Explore the neighbourhoods of Saint-Nazaire

Welcome to La Havane!

The quiet streets and villas of the La Havane district take you back to the 1900s when the industrial town dreamt of travel.

Step into a totally different Saint-Nazaire from the modern town you knew. The district is quite as it was in the late 19th century when its inhabitants were shipyard engineers, wealthy merchants, sea captains or Loire pilots. Notice the seafront streets named after La Havane, Santander and Veracruz.

Petit Maroc: the neighbourhood of Little Morocco

This is a surprising name for a rather unusual district located between the River Loire and Saint-Nazaire’s harbour basin. Nowadays, there are no traces of the original Little Morocco neighbourhood, which was wiped out during World War Two and subsequent rebuilding programmes, but this was once the historic heart of Saint-Nazaire. In the 1400s a village developed here, then in the 1800s this neighbourhood grew and became urbanised, being perfectly placed at the mouth of the River Loire. How did it get its name? It came from the fishermen that once lived and worked there.

This is a great place for a stroll, particularly along the river basin. Constructed from 1848 to 1856, this spot was then selected by the transatlantic company ‘Compagnie Générale Transatlantique’ to become the departure point for liners setting sail to Central America. From 1862, this was where crossings to exotic destinations such as Mexico, Panama, Cuba began, making Saint-Nazaire synonymous with transatlantic travel. The transatlantic port was located in the same spot where the submarine base would later be built by the Germans in World War Two, to shelter their famous U-Boats.

Ever-changing, forward-looking and lively, the ‘Petit Maroc’ district offers bars, restaurants, and alternative highlights such as Les Abeilles. It’s also where you’ll find the Ecomusée, and where, every year on the last weekend of July, you can come to the festival ‘Les Escales’, one of the summer’s must-see highlights!

The Méan-Penhoët district

Two neighbourhoods, one history. Surrounding Brivet Port, the little market town of Méan brought together sailors, fishermen and farmers, who had settled here in the Middle Ages. From the 1800s, the area benefited from the shipyards and maritime trade in local products. In 1862, the first modern shipyard was established on the estuary and, in 1881, Penhoët harbour basin was opened. The nearby hamlet of Penhoët started to experience a whole new chapter featuring industry, workers and crafts. Nowadays, Rue de Trignac is the street that connects historic Méan with industrial Penhoët, uniting them into one district.

Grab your smartphone, download the free ‘Baludik’ app and explore the surprising area of Méan-Penhoët.

Within about 90 minutes, the character Eugénie will tell you about the history of the early 1900s, or let André spend 1 hour guiding you through the 1950s. These walks reveal daily life, the old public baths, hand-barrow trails and hidden viewpoints, enhanced by Jinks Kunst murals and art installations that frame the landscape.