With its solid ramparts, Guérande can be likened to “Carcassonne of the west”. But behind the stone enclosure, the slate roofs of old dwellings confirm that this Town of Art and History is Celtic. Its wonderful opulence results from the salt marshes, a magical and sparkling place.
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Discover Guérande and its salt marshes
Way back in Roman times, salt was harvested in Guérande. The remains of villas testify to this activity. To protect itself, the town built embankments. They were not enough to prevent the Spanish ransacking it in 1343. Impressive ramparts were then built around the city, giving it its medieval look. In the 15th century, during the golden age, 269 vessels exported salt and wine. The silting of port sites weakened it. Its revival came from tourism and the return of traditional salt harvesting.
Enter medieval history!
The market takes place inside the fortifications, with a stunning backdrop. The magnificent wall, coloured gold with lichen, hugs the town for 1.4 km. There are four gateways for visitors to enter the winding streets. The massive St-Michel gateway, the main one, contains a museum. Beyond it, your walk is punctuated with corbelled houses, half-timbered houses and ornate dormer windows. The Tricot and Prévoté manor houses are worthy representatives of this characterful architecture. The Saint-Aubin collegiate church has an original outside pulpit, reached by a spiral staircase.
Did you know
What’s in salt?
The independent producers of Guérande harvest 10,000 tonnes of salt per year. This quality product is appreciated for its taste and its high magnesium and trace element content.
At the heart of a mosaic of mirrors
It’s such a delight to get lost in the vast grid of the salt marshes! Early in the morning or at sunset, the sparkling pools shimmer in incredible shades of silver, blue, green and pink. The little white pyramids of salt are shaped by the “new generation” salt farmers who perpetuate an ancestral skill. From June to September, they harvest the salt in 7,000 salt ponds using a shovel called a cimauge. The fleur de sel, the caviar of the saltworks, is delicately harvested. The tides, the sun and the wind are the best allies for this work. The salorges, wooden hangars, protect the harvest. The brilliant Terre de Sel museum shares this passion for salt with you!