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The salt marshes

Salt marshes ©Lesley Williamson

In the 19th century there were more than 1000 salt workers in Ile de Ré, today there are only a hundred.

The salt workers, known as "sauniers" on the Ile de Ré, still use age-old techniques, as methods of salt production have barely changed here since the Middle Ages.

On the Ile de Ré, the salt marshes are composed of three main basins: the mudflat, the evaporation reservoir and the marshland. These basins were expertly carved into the natural clay so that water can flow through them by simple gravity. The salt workers respond to the slightest change in the weather conditions every day by increasing or reducing the water flow to each of the basins.

Salt formation therefore depends entirely on the weather conditions and the harvest season usually only lasts from June to September. A single storm can wipe out several days' harvest...

The ecomuseum of salt marshes

From March to the end of November, the ecomuseum of Salt Marshes in Loix takes you through the journey of salt, from sea water to evaporation. An exhibition followed by a guided visit of a functional salt marsh gives you a deep insight into the process of crystallization of sea salt and the daily work of salt producers on the island. Techniques, tools and an ancestral know-how, which is passed on from generation to generation.