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The salt marshes

The island of Ré
is world-renowned for the quality of its fleur de sel. Enthusiasts and gourmets alike will delight in the refined taste and design of this precious, hand-harvested powder.
The salines, or salt marshes, are part of the cultural and natural heritage of the Ile de Ré. This unique site is close to the La Tour des Prises campsite. So you can get there on foot or by bike. From June to September, you can see the sauniers harvesting the fleur de sel. The process and tools used are the same as in the Middle Ages. It’s precisely this traditional method that is the subject of such admiration and covetousness when it comes to salt production on the Ile de Ré.

Sauniers sur l’île de Ré: a trade still relevant today

The population began exploiting the salt marshes in the 12th century. Since then, this activity has grown and developed considerably from the 15th century onwards. It was in the 19th century that the salt industry began to flourish, with more than 1,000 salt workers producing around 30,000 tons a year. Today, the number of sauniers has dropped considerably, and there are now just a hundred or so who are carrying on this traditional trade and bringing this famous marsh back to life.

Visit the incredible Marais Salant de Loix ecomuseum

If you’d like to immerse yourself in the local culture and learn more about how the salt works, don’t hesitate to visit the Marais Salant de Loix eco-museum. Located on the banks of the Fier d’Ars river, this special place will plunge you into the untold history of salt production. A guided tour lasting around an hour will enable you to discover the wonders of the marshes. Indeed, the local flora and fauna are quite specific, as in the case of glasswort, which is strangely similar to a sea bean, statice or marsh lavender, or black mustard, which colors the marshes with the bright yellow of its petals. The Fier d’Ars bay stretches over 800 hectares, and is home to a wide range of birds, including geese, avocets, egrets and shelducks… a panoply of species that live in harmony in a fragile environment.
After a rewarding adventure in the marshes, you can stop off at the cooperative des sauniers de l’île de Ré at the entrance to the village of Ars-en-Ré. You can see a whole selection of fleur de sel and coarse salt marked with a “Les Sauniers de l’île de Ré” stamp. You can also discover a wide range of products, including pickled samphire, salt pebbles, caramels and salted butter candies.