Salt – A Long Mining Tradition
Present in the Jura Mountains several million years ago, the sea deposited several layers of underground salt as it retreated, enriching the land. This is what led to the reputation of the saline waters in the Jura and the development of spa treatments. To exploit this white gold, people developed extraction methods from the beginning of the Middle Ages, and the historic centre of this industry is in none other than the Grande Saline salt works in Salins-les-Bains. The mountain folk have been going there to mine and sell salt for nearly 1,200 years.
In 1775, the Royal Saltworks in Arc et Senans was built due to insufficient space in Salins-les-Bains. A 21-km brine duct was engineered to connect the two towns. This activity came to an end in 1962. The Grande Saline salt works in Salins-les-Bains then became a place to remember and discover Jura heritage. The salt works in Salins-les-Bains and Arc et Senans are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Saltworks – A Precious Story
A remnant of salt mining, the underground galleries and the hydraulic pumping system provide evidence of how the brine water was drawn out. On this tour, visitors discover the backbreaking work of the salt workers, tasked with evaporating the water content in the brine. To round off the tour, the salt museum was built in 2009. You can watch videos, original accounts, sound clips and a collection of technical objects that explain the salt industry and its impact on the Jura Mountains.