Perfectly seasoned tours in Guérande and Noirmoutier
Discover three original ways to get to grips with the craft of the salt workers and merchants who have harvested this white gold since the Gallo-Roman era on the coasts of the Vendée and Loire-Atlantique.
A nautical escape in the Olonne marshes
In Sables-d'Olonne (85), Les Salines takes adults and children on a nautical excursion on the Rivière Salée (the "salty river") aboard the Mireille et Jonathan. A two-hour tour of the marsh with commentary takes visitors back to a time when the region had a great deal of influence thanks to the white gold. The boat then takes passengers on the Parcours Historique du Sel (Historic Salt Tour), a circuit punctuated with games and unexpected discoveries such as the salt merchant show, the Gallic salt ovens, the customs officers' watch cabin or the brand-new bird observatory! And to top it all off, children can have a go at harvesting.
Themed walks for families
In Guérande (44), Terre de Sel (Land of Salt) offers truly unique tours. Based on salt manufacturing, they are as suitable for 3-6-year-olds – who can enjoy walks with commentary on the theme of "Salt magician" – as for 7-12-year-olds, who can embark on experiences in the marshes such as working with clay, tasting samphire or dip-net fishing. Teens can expect a more scientific approach. Also worth a mention are night-time or gourmet outings from the company's elegant building which, along with a reception space, houses an exhibition room, a shop and a panoramic terrace with an uninterrupted view over the marshes. Perfect for further exploration!
A horse-drawn discovery tour of salt farming
For twenty years now, in addition to his work as a salt merchant, Hervé Zarka has taken visitors on a tour of the labyrinthine marshes of Noirmoutier (85) aboard his big horse-drawn carriage. As large Percheron horses pull the small group of curious visitors along, the guide tells the story of local salt farming, which traces back to the 7th century when Saint-Philibert persuaded the inhabitants to build the marshes. Lasting one hour, the tour also introduces extraction techniques, extols the virtues of the famous fleur de sel and returns to the most recent changes and innovations. Fascinating!