Quay notes

The jetty around 1900...
... and in the early 21st century.

The Old Jetty

You can easily park in the car park at avenue de Saint-Hubert (see city map), directly on the banks of the Loire, near the heritage museum Ecomusée. If you take the bus, get off at the Ruban Bleu stop, from there you’ll have to walk about 10 minutes to get to the starting point of our walk.

First stop: the lighthouse “Vieux Môle”, “Old Jetty”. With its long pier and walls of massive granite blocks, the jetty has been a landmark for so long (more than 170 years) that it’s hard to imagine that its inauguration in 1838 was quite a revolution.

Until then Saint-Nazaire did not have any regular harbour facilities; if ships wanted to land, they had to wait for the tide to be just right which was a big handicap at a time when maritime and river transport became more and more important. Even the author Honoré de Balzac mentioned this problem in his novel Béatrix (1829), set in the surroundings of Saint-Nazaire: he describes the “slippery rocks and granite cliffs” which made any disembarking a nightmarish experience. The jetty being built, passengers, for example of the Loire steamers, could at long last disembark without major difficulties.