The salt marshes of Loix and Ars-en-Ré in the north enrich the natural heritage of the island. Sea salt and delicate ‘fleur de sel’ are cultivated across several kilometres. In high summer, nearly 90 salt merchants harvest the ‘white gold’ by hand at dusk over 400 hectares, using age-old methods.
Salt production, a protected activity on Ile de Ré
The discovery of salt marshes dates from the 15th century. In the 19th century salt production on Ile de Ré reached its peak. Land used for salt production covered 18% of the island! And after a period of decline caused by a drying-out of the marshes, the activity lives on today through a cooperative of 40 salt merchants who continue the tradition. An ancient profession which now contributes to Ile de Ré’s heritage and to local culture.
A walk through the salt marshes has plenty to offer for nature lovers. On foot or by bike, discover the flora and fauna, watch the salt merchants demonstrate their expertise, these experiences are unforgettable and timeless.
Visit the salt marshes: http://www.marais-salant.com/