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St Nazaire

St Nazaire is renowned for its ship building (Cunard's Queen Mary II was built here in 2003) after the port became the departure and arrival point for France's first transatlantic crossings in 1862. To compare the facilities of Oceana with those of early cruise ships, visit Escal'Atlantic (housed in the impenetrable German submarine base) and you'll step off one ship straight onto another - it's a life-size reconstruction of an early ocean liner. You can also explore L'Espadon, a real submarine used by the French navy from 1960-1985. 

St Nazaire is also home to one of Europe's Airbus factories and it's here that the main fuselage sections are assembled and tested, including that of the almighty A380. Visitors are afforded the unique experience of getting up close and personal with these enormous airplanes.

Away from the museums and city centre, the coast around St Nazaire has 20 lovely beaches, arguably some of the best in the Loire-Atlantique region. One was even immortalised on film as the location of Jacques Tati's 'Mr Hulot's Holiday'.

 

Shore excursions in St Nazaire

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Brière National Park and Guérande

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 5 hours

Enjoy a boat ride in the Brière Regional Natural Park and visit the famous medieval city of Guérande.

From a biological point of view, the wetlands of the Regional Natural Park are considered to be amongst the richest in Europe. Brière offers magnificent landscapes and is a renowned breeding ground for water birds.

During your boat ride into the heart of the marshes, you will learn about the flora and fauna and local traditions. Back on land, hear about the traditional building methods of the local thatched cottage roofs and come across some of the prettiest cottages that dot the countryside.

Board your coach to drive to the nearby hamlet of Kerhinet and enjoy some free time to stroll the charming streets of this entirely restored village composed only of traditional cottages.

During the Middle Ages, Guérande. was the main town in the estate owned by the Dukes of Brittany that covered the entire peninsula. Follow your guide for a walking tour of this renowned fortified town and see the Collegiate Church Saint-Aubin and the famous fortifications dating back to 1434. You will have some free time to shop in the attractive boutiques, which offer a wide variety of local specialties as well as the locally-produced Guérande salt.

Essential information

There is approximately 1¾ hours of walking involved on this tour over mostly flat surfaces and the streets in Guérande are paved. The boats at the Nature Park are not covered. Passengers are advised to take a raincoat or umbrella in case of rain. Since October 2013 French decree no. 2011-1336 requires that providers of transport services, where the journey starts or ends in France, are required to provide passengers with the carbon footprint for such services. We are pleased to be able to communicate the carbon footprint for our French tours. These have been calculated for us by our local operators. Each carbon footprint assumes that there will be 40 passengers on a coach,so your carbon footprint may vary from that published according to actual passenger numbers. The carbon footprint for this excursion has been calculated as 1.92kgs CO2 per passenger.

Clisson and Muscadet Vineyards

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 5½ hours

Journey to the historical and romantic city of Clisson before visiting famous Muscadet vineyards.

Nestled in the heart of the Nantes vineyards, Clisson is a renowned medieval city. The castle dates back to medieval times and is a beautiful romantic ruin that sits at the crossroads of Brittany, Anjou and Poitou.

The historical centre of Clisson boasts numerous attractive sights, including the town gate, market halls, Church of Notre Dame, viaduct and the mills. After a walking tour in this rich historical town, you will be given free time to shop in the attractive boutiques.

A short drive away from Clisson is the renowned Château de Chasseloir, famous for the production of its quality Muscadet wine. Since 1953, the Chéreau Carré family has produced one of the best Muscadet wines in the region. During your visit, you’ll get acquainted with the wine making techniques and see the vineyards.

The cellar and the various farm buildings were constructed from schist rock coming from the sub soil of the property. With its Rabelaisian figures, stained glass windows, antique vine growing tools and its oak barrels, this cellar is unique.

After your visit, you will be invited to a special tasting of the famous white wine that seafood lovers appreciate so much.

Essential information

This excursion operates by coach and on foot. There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this tour, over mostly flat surfaces in Clisson and at Château de Chasseloir. Some limited free time will be given in the boutique at Château de Chasseloir for purchasing the locally produced wines.Since October 2013 French decree no. 2011-1336 requires that providers of transport services, where the journey starts or ends in France, are required to provide passengers with the carbon footprint for such services. We are pleased to be able to communicate the carbon footprint for our French tours. These have been calculated for us by our local operators. Each carbon footprint assumes that there will be 40 passengers on a coach,so your carbon footprint may vary from that published according to actual passenger numbers. The carbon footprint for this excursion has been calculated as 4.37kgs CO2 per passenger.

Nantes – A City of Art and History

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 5 hours

Nantes is a fascinating and varied town, whose different quarters are steeped in history and museums are rich in art collections.

Classified as a ‘City of Art and History’, this royal city impresses with the richness of its history and monuments bearing styles from Medieval, Gothic and Renaissance times.

Discover the birthplace of Jules Verne, Feydeau Islet, which was linked to the mainland between 1926 and 1938. It was here that rich ship owners used to build their vast mansions. Walk through the narrow streets of the 19th century part of the city and see the commercial street Crébillon and Rue Santeuil with its famous steeped shopping arcade, Passage Pommeraye.

View the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, emblematic of the history of Nantes and of Brittany. This unique site in the heart of the city is now home to the Nantes History Museum.

Follow your guide for an inside visit of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul Cathedral. Inside, you will find the tomb of François II, the last Duke of Brittany and of Marguerite de Foix, his 2nd wife, parents of Anne of Brittany.

Back on your coach, you will then head towards the Ile de Nantes where the unprecedented project, les Machines de L’Ile, is located. Your visit to this incredible site will include the Machine Gallery and the discovery of the workshop. Free time will be given to explore on your own and shop in the boutique, before returning to your coach.

Essential information

This excursion operates by coach and on foot. There is approximately 2 hours of walking on this tour, over mainly flat surfaces. Flash photography is not permitted inside the cathedral. Since October 2013 French decree no. 2011-1336 requires that providers of transport services, where the journey starts or ends in France, are required to provide passengers with the carbon footprint for such services. We are pleased to be able to communicate the carbon footprint for our French tours. These have been calculated for us by our local operators. Each carbon footprint assumes that there will be 40 passengers on a coach,so your carbon footprint may vary from that published according to actual passenger numbers. The carbon footprint for this excursion has been calculated as 3.00kgs CO2 per passenger.

Nantes by Land and River Erdre

Activity low

Duration: 5½ hours

Discover the royal city of Nantes by land and river.

Your panoramic city tour will include highlights such as Saint Pierre Cathedral, a masterpiece of flamboyant gothic architecture as well as the newly restored Ducal Castle, the former fortress of the Dukes of Brittany, which now houses the History Museum of Nantes. You will also pass by the Ile de Nantes where the famed ‘Machines de l’Ile’ (Machines of the Isle) are located.

The bridge of La Motte Rouge will be where you embark on ‘Bateaux Nantais’ for a leisurely discovery cruise on the Erdre River, the main gateway from Nantes to the Loire Valley. This highly picturesque trip is punctuated with commentary on the history of the river and its flora and fauna. Numerous stately homes and châteaux can be seen along the way including, Château du Tertre, Château de l’Eraudière, Le Bignon and Chateau La Gascherie, which is a majestic building dating back to 1480. You will also view the Pigeon loft which used to nest as many as 25,000 birds.

After this rich cultural journey, board your coach for the leisurely journey back to your ship.

Essential information

This excursion operates by coach and river boat.There is minimal walking on this tour over flat surfaces. The drive to Nantes is approximately 1 hour each way.Since October 2013 French decree no. 2011-1336 requires that providers of transport services, where the journey starts or ends in France, are required to provide passengers with the carbon footprint for such services. We are pleased to be able to communicate the carbon footprint for our French tours. These have been calculated for us by our local operators. Each carbon footprint assumes that there will be 40 passengers on a coach,so your carbon footprint may vary from that published according to actual passenger numbers. The carbon footprint for this excursion has been calculated as kgs CO2 per passenger.

Saint-Nazaire – The Maritime City

Activity medium

Duration: 4 hours

Saint-Nazaire is called ‘a city by the sea’ and has more than one surprise in store for the visitor.

The name of Saint-Nazaire stands for shipbuilding and ocean liners and was France’s earliest transatlantic harbour from 1862 onwards, with regular sailings to Central America up until World War II.

Saint-Nazaire has built the big ocean-going ships since the 1860’s, such as the famous liners Normandie (1935) and the France (1962). The shipyard is still active today, building some of the finest cruise ships in the world, including the famous Queen Mary 2 (2003). Enjoy a tour of the shipyard, which will give you an idea of its sheer size, including a viewing of the huge dry dock where the ships are assembled.

Escal’Atlantic or the ‘ocean liner experience’ is located inside the former submarine base and is a unique venue which offers a lively, unforgettable experience of the history of ocean liners. The tour includes more than 20 different display areas which literally take you ‘on board’ an ocean liner of the past. Interactive features, audiovisual displays and ‘hands-on’ devices make this a dynamic experience to remember.

During your tour, you will also discover the harbour and see monuments dedicated to British war memories, the Saint-Nazaire raid and the sinking of the Lancastria. Enjoy a drive along the pleasant waterfront of this Maritime City before returning to your ship.

Essential information

This excursion operates by coach and on foot.There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this tour, including 25 steps in the museum. The visit of Escal’Atlantic is unguided.Since October 2013 French decree no. 2011-1336 requires that providers of transport services, where the journey starts or ends in France, are required to provide passengers with the carbon footprint for such services. We are pleased to be able to communicate the carbon footprint for our French tours. These have been calculated for us by our local operators. Each carbon footprint assumes that there will be 40 passengers on a coach,so your carbon footprint may vary from that published according to actual passenger numbers. The carbon footprint for this excursion has been calculated as 0.84kgs CO2 per passenger.

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