Salt marshes are very shallow basins of salt water. Seawater circulates in them, concentrating salt from 30g per litre of water to 300g thanks to the wind and sun. The fine film of crystals that remains suspended on the surface is the white, rare and delicious fleur de sel. Coarse or fine, fleur de sel... This "white gold" is harvested in summer when the water in the marshes can evaporate thanks to the power of the sun. 100 % natural, this sea salt is harvested by hand in the purest respect for ancestral know-how.
The salt producers
In the past, the term "saunier" was used to describe the salt harvesters who worked in the sauneries. They obtained the salt by heating water over wood fires. Today, salt workers harvest "white gold" in the salt marshes. As you explore the marshes, you're sure to meet some of them, and why not visit their farms!
Passionate about their trade, the salt farmers are keen to show visitors around their salt marshes. They invite you to discover how salt is harvested and how the salt-maker does it. Passed down from generation to generation, this know-how is no accident. The salt worker must know how to: develop, maintain and operate his marsh and regulate the flow of water between the basins. The salt grower shapes the carnations (where the salt is harvested) and knows how to make the best use of the water, wind and sun to produce the salt.
Salt, also known as "white gold", is one of the region's richest resources. Bourgneu Bayf. Whether coarse, fine or fleur de sel, it's on every table! The salt-makers harvest coarse salt and flower of salt, and each salt has its own harvest. The tools and gestures change.
At the heart of the Marais Breton VendéenThis Natura 2000-listed park boasts a wealth of biodiversity, and you can sample the saltwort and other plants that grow along the ponds.
Salt for women
Anchored in the culture of the market garden, the trade of salt worker, a craft, can be very physically demanding, and you need a lot of stamina! Contrary to popular belief, it's not just a job for men - it's becoming increasingly feminised. In our region, there are salt marsh workers, working alone or as a couple, in the purest tradition. They harvest the salt and keep alive a trade that has shaped the history of our region.
Visit the saltworks
Take advantage of your visit to the Marais Breton Vendéen to find out more about the job of a salt marsh worker. Mostly in summer, the salt marsh farmers offer tours of their marshes. Self-guided, guided, educational... there's plenty to choose from!
At the end of your visit? Make a (vital!) stop at the salorge to stock up on salt, fleur de sel and other flavoured salts!