© Alexandre Lamoureux

The submarine base of Saint‑Nazaire

An iconic part of the town

The former submarine base, built by the Germans in WW2, has become an integral part of our landscape. After extensive redevelopment, the base is now a unique cultural and tourism site. Explore its depths then climb to the roof to see your surroundings from a fresh perspective!

The history of the submarine base

From the 20th to the 21st Century

An outstanding building, constructed during World War Two

Saint-Nazaire’s submarine base is one of five bases that the Nazis constructed along the Atlantic front during World War Two. This 301m-long strategic base was built in just 16 months in 1941-42, using nearly 500,000m3 of concrete. With a roof up to 9.6m thick, it housed the fearsome U-Boats plus hundreds of men, their offices and workshops until May 1945. The submarine base was built on the site of the original transatlantic port, from where ships used to sail towards America.

Nowadays, the submarine base is an unusual tourist site and cultural centre

Stroll through the narrow walkways, play with perspective, track the light and the water. Above all, be sure to head up to the rooftop and enjoy the incredible views over the town, the port and the estuary. Over the last twenty years, thanks to large-scale works, this submarine base has become an integral part of our landscape. Saint-Nazaire has come back to its original port, turning it into a tourist attraction and cultural centre. As a result, you can come here to visit Escal’Atlantic – a museum dedicated to legendary ocean liners – you can listen to concerts at the VIP, or even enjoy a contemporary-art exhibition in LiFE. The submarine pens are also home to the Tourist Office.

Good to know: experience the outstanding history of the submarine base with a guided tour or a sensory course in French.

Discover the submarine base

Vast. Mysterious. Unmissable. The massive submarine base, built as a defensive fortress by the German army during World War II, still dominates the harbour site today. Come along and discover this extraordinary place, steeped in history and reinvented.