Birthplace of the giants of the seas
For more than a century and a half, ocean liners and now cruise ships have been the most prestigious ambassadors of Saint-Nazaire, bearing witness to an extraordinary know-how. Saint-Nazaire’s shipyard, which is renowned all over the world, opens its doors and allows you inside, as a privileged visitor.
We’ll take you by bus from the submarine base into the shipyard for a guided tour of a very dynamic, constantly evolving company. You will see the “streets” of the yard, the huge workshops and assembly docks, while high above you towers one of the most powerful gantry cranes in Europe. This is a place where industry becomes quite spectacular!
An outstanding industrial saga
The shipyard of Saint-Nazaire is one of the biggest and oldest in the world, and at the same time one of the most innovating. Everything is gigantic here: the assembly dock and the pre-assembly area are more than 900 metres long; the huge gantry crane is able to lift weights of up to 1,400 tons, i.e. ship sections which are as big as whole buildings. Maybe you will be lucky to enough to see it work.
When visiting the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, you will:
- Find yourself very close to the ships under construction, and understand what an outstanding industrial story has been writing itself here over the last 150 years
- Gain privileged entrance to a “city within the city” for a firsthand experience of its gigantism and innovation
- Understand all the stages of the shipbuilding process, from the arrival of the steel plates to the final outfitting.
Two ways of visiting the shipyard
You can choose between a two-hour and a one-and-a-half-hour tour. Both cover all the aspects of shipbuilding and the diversification towards marine renewable energy (the yard builds elements for offshore wind farms). The huge cruise ships being built are really the stars of the tour! As the shipyard’s order book is full to the rim, you will probably see more than one ship, in various stages of assembly. From a pedestrian gallery that overlooks the assembly dock you get privileged views of the yard’s activity. In the two-hour tour you also visit a huge workshop where steel plates are welded together.
The tours are in French, English tours are on offer in July and August. Please note that due to the company’s activities, the tour inside the yard can be subject to modification.
New in 2018: industry tours (shipyard, Airbus factory, harbour terminals) can be combined with the visit of Escal’Atlantic, the Ocean Liner Experience.
Prepare your visit of the shipyard
- Departure by bus from the submarine base, Saint-Nazaire, Ville-Port, boulevard de la Légion d’Honneur. Carparks nearby.
- Public transport : the nearest bus stops are rue de la Paix + 7 minutes’ walk, HélYce line (every day); Ruban Bleu + 4 minutes’ walk; U2 and U4 lines (from Monday to Saturday).
- The shipyard tours usually take place on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and on a daily basis in the holiday season. See dates in the online ticket office: tours in French, and tours in English (in July and August).
|Full||Reduced*||Children age 4-14
|1 1/2 hr visit||14 €||12 €||7 €|
|2 hr visit||16 €||13 €||8 €|
|Visit + Escal’Atlantic||23 €||20 €||11,50 €|
*Reduced price (ID required): students, unemployed, disabled persons and accompanying person.
- Guided tour, 1 1/2 or 2 hours.
- The tours are in French; English-speaking tours are organised in July and August.
- The details of the tour inside the factory and the contents of the visit may vary according to the company’s activity.
- See special conditions for groups.
- The shipyard tour is not accessible to disabled visitors.
- During the shipyard tour you do not have access to the ships under construction.
- Photographing and filming are strictly forbidden during the tour.
- Booking procedure: ID details (name, nationality, date and place of birth) are required for each visitor.
What our visitors think
"This visit is a must if you go to Saint-Nazaire - very instructive, the guide was excellent, she was very knowledgable. We could see two huge ships under construction close-up."
What our visitors think
"We had a lovely English-speaking guide who was very knowledgeable. It was very interesting to see the dry dock so closely."