Quay notes

Modern apartment buildings near the harbour.
The "crab's claws" as seen from above.

Inside the crab’s claws

Let’s walk on through rue Hippolyte Durand, between modern apartment buildings and the training centre of “SNSM”, the Sea Rescue Society. Here we are in what used to be the old Saint-Nazaire, the original village which developed along the estuary and on a rocky promontory. There is nothing left of this little town which was described in 1865 as “some tiny, low and unhealthy houses thrown together”. One imagines a maze of narrow streets and old houses, but evidently they seemed neither romantic nor charming for their contemporaries.

At the end of the street let’s walk straight on for a little detour into the outer harbour. Here the tug boats lie at anchor, waiting for their next job helping big ships in and out of the harbour. Dozens of fishing nets, fixed in hand-made wooden or metallic contraptions, line the pier at our left, and also the pier on the other side of the harbour.

port-feu-jetee-est-120pix.jpgIf you get a good look at the two piers you will realise that each bears a small lighthouse at its end. At nightfall, they give the usual guiding signals for ships entering a harbour: green light on starboard, red on portside. By the way, do you know how people in Saint-Nazaire nickname the piers? They call them “crab’s claws”… have a look at the aerial photo, and you’ll understand why!

Back into rue Hippolyte Durand now, and up the stone stairs leading to the promontory which dominates the harbour entry.