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Noirmoutier

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Salt marches

Salt marshes cover 1/3 of the island , island in the towns of Noirmoutier and L'Epine. This can be explained by the 16th-18th century boom in salt trading , a major asset to the island until the 1970s. Following a period of decline (34 salt workers in 1990), young producers have put salt back on the map and there are now a hundred of them.

The salt harvest is an artisan trade which follows traditional methods. Sea water circulates in a network of meticulously maintained canals and pools in the salt pan (a small pool of seawater made by the salt worker with a smooth, slightly domed clay base where salt is deposited).

Through evaporation, the concentration of salt increases over a long 48 hour period from 35g/litre to 300g/litre. The sun and wind help the water reach saturation point. The salt cystallises and covers the salt pan's clay base. The salt worker uses regular accurate movements to gently scrape the sea salt to the edge of the pan using his "ételle": small wooden board on a long stick.

The small piles are called "mulons" and they dazzle white in the blue salt marshes.

During the hottest period of summer when the East wind blows, the fine crystals shimmer on the surface of the salt pans. Salt workers delicately scrape them off using a "lousse" (like a paddle) for fleur de sel. It is then put in baskets to dry in the sun. It has a unique white colour and flavour due to being crystallised on the water's surface.

You can visit the marshes all summer long and at the beginning of autumn. The many salt huts along the roads also attract their faire share of visitors. You can buy fleur de sel, fine salt, sea salt and samphire straight from the producers.

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Other activities at Noirmoutier

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10
Propreté 7.1/10
Location 7.1/10
Activities 7.5/10
Rapport qualité/prix 6.5/10
Adapté aux enfants 7.9/10
Restauration 7.1/10
Sanitaires 6.3/10
Accueil 8.1/10
Piscine 7.8/10
Paysage 8.3/10
Animation 7.7/10
Mobil Home 6.8/10