Saint-Nazaire is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France, in traditional Brittany.
The town has a major harbour on the right bank of the Loire River estuary, near the Atlantic Ocean. The town is at the south of the second-largest swamp in France, called "la Brière". Given its location, Saint-Nazaire has a long tradition of fishing and shipbuilding. The Chantiers de l'Atlantique, one of the largest shipyards in the world, has constructed iconic superliners such as SS Normandie, SS France, RMS Queen Mary 2 and MS Harmony of the Seas, the largest passenger ship in the world as of 2016.
Saint-Nazaire was a small village until the industrial area but became a large town in the second half of the 19th century, thanks to the construction of railways and the growth of the seaport. Saint-Nazaire progressively replaced Nantes as the main haven on the Loire estuary. The town was one of the most damaged in France during World War II. As a major submarine base for the Germans, Saint-Nazaire was subject to a British raid in 1942 and it was heavily bombed by the Allies until 1945.
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