THE SALT MARSHES OF ÎLE DE RÉ
The Ile de Ré salt marshes are part of the island’s rich maritime heritage and are also one of the best known activities on the island. The production of artisanal sea salt is indeed a tradition perpetuated for generations on the island.
The Ile de Ré salt marshes are thus part of the landscapes that make up the archipelago, along with the ocean, the natural environment and the villages full of charm.
The salt marshes are mainly concentrated in the part of the island, especially in the heart of the Fier d’Ars and the Fosse de Loix.
THE SALT MARSHES ECOMUSEUM OF ÎLE DE RÉ
From February 15 to November 11, the salt marshes ecomuseum invites you to discover the history and operation of the salt marshes of the Ré region in a lively and entertaining way. The Ile de Ré salt marshes ecomuseum is located on the edge of the Fier d’Ars in Loix. The visit, which lasts about an hour, includes an exhibition on the techniques of salt production and harvesting, including an explanatory model.
A guide then accompanies you on the natural site of the salt marshes of the island of Ré. This walk in the marshes is an opportunity to see the salt workers at work, but also to observe a fauna, especially ornithological, very diversified: egrets, geese or shelducks occupy the site according to the seasons. The store of the eco-museum proposes salt flower, saltwort, salted butter caramels, as well as a documentation on salt farming adapted to children and adults.
WHERE ARE THE SALT MARSHES OF THE ÎLE DE RÉ ?
The salt marshes are a short distance from the campsite Ile de Ré l’Ile Blanche. It only takes a few minutes to walk the few kilometers that separate the domain from the Loix farm.
Nevertheless, some smaller Ile de Ré salt marshes can be found here and there. Starting from the campsite l’Ile Blanche, you will be able to cross vineyards, villages, oyster beds and maritime landscapes to discover the salt marshes, which are famous on the Ile de Ré.
If some people opt for walking, others do not hesitate to take a few pedal turns through the ponds. A visit to the “Marais Salant” eco-museum is a must to learn more about the history and secrets of the salt marshes.
THE HISTORY OF SALT MARSHES ILE DE RÉ
In the 19th century, there were more than 1,000 salt producers on the island of Ré, today there are only about 100.
Salt production developed over the centuries until the 19th century, when it reached its peak.
At that time, the salt marshes covered 18% of the island’s surface and 30,000 tons of salt were produced each year.
Thereafter, production decreased due to the drying up of the marshes, lack of maintenance and competition from industrial production.
It gradually resumed with the creation of a cooperative of saunière in the 1940s and today, 90 sauniers work in the summer to produce up to 10,000 tons of salt per year.