Salins-les-Bains – visit the Saltworks!

UNESCO has just announced that it has extended recognition of the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans to include the Great (although presumably not Royal) Saltworks of nearby Salins-les-Bains (25 Doubs, BFC)

royal saltworks at arc-et-senans
The Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains, where brine has been extracted since the Middle Ages if not earlier, features three buildings above ground: salt stores, the Amont well building and a former dwelling. It is linked to Claude-Nicolas Ledoux’s Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans and bears testimony to the history of salt extraction in France. (The Royal Saltworks represented)…the first major achievement of industrial architecture, reflecting the ideal of progress of the Enlightenment. This vast, semicircular complex was designed to permit a rational and hierarchical organization of work and was to have been followed by the building of an ideal city, a project that was never realized.

Not on the usual list of tourist attractions for most of us, but this looks to be an interesting gem in a part of France that many visitors miss.

Whilst in the département of the Doubs, you can also enjoy the delights of the “Swallows Line”  (la Ligne des Hirondelles)

Claimed to be one of the most beautiful railway journeys in France, the Ligne des Hirondelles crosses the Jura, in a trip lasting 2½ hours, travelling over 120 km between plain and mountain, through the forest of Chaux, the vineyards of Arbois, the vast Grandvaux plateaus, and the Valley of la Bienne.
It boasts a number of very impressive engineering structures. The 123 kilometre line, linking Dole and Saint-Claude, goes through 36 tunnels and crosses 18 viaducts. It climbs from 200 metres of altitude (at Dole station) to 948 metres (at its highest point, the Col de la Savine) before descending again to 440 metres of altitude at Saint-Claude. The trip from Morez to Saint-Claude alone goes through 18 tunnels, totalling 470 metres, with 10 bridges and viaducts. The leg from Morbier to Morez epitomises the Swallows Line.

More info on The Royal Saltworks
More info on The Swallows Line
More info on the Doubs

By Train TGV TGV from London with Rail Europe

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