Les Salines de Guérande
Guérande salt’s roots go far back in history. It has been harvested on the peninsula since the Iron Age. The first salt works to use the storage capacity of the lagoon goes back to the 3rd Century, shortly after the Roman conquest. But the real inspiration behind the salt marshes were the monks from Landévennec Abbey, who, in 945, founded Batz Priory and carved them out. By studying the tides, wind and sun, the monks mapped out a plan of the salt works, which is the one we see today. A titanic project, this open-air factory brought prosperity to Guérande for many centuries and opened up the first trading routes in Europe: it was the Eldorado of Brittany.
The current exploitation technique goes back to before the 9th Century. At least five salt works from the Carolingian period are still in operation on the marshes. This tradition of the salt worker’s profession and the preservation of his skills have allowed the Guérande marshes to survive through to modern times. Certain expressions are well known to everyone in France :
- Mettre un peu de sel dans sa vie (adding a bit of salt to your life)
- Ajouter son grain de sel (Add your grain of salt)
- Une plaisanterie pleine de sel… (A joke full of salt…)