The Saltworks

Visit time : 1 day.
Royal Saltworks of Arc et Senans, begun in 1770, is a masterpiece of industrial architecture, reflecting the ideal of progress of the Enlightenment. The architectural heritage of the Royal Saltworks, its history and its rehabilitation make it a unique monument that remains a rare example of industrial history and architecture classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

As for the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains, active for 12 centuries, it marked the history of the production of open-pan salt (by evaporation). This "white gold" was an essential commodity of great economic importance, and for several centuries the state levied a tax on its sale, the salt tax. Visiting the two sites allows visitors to relive their prestigious history.

World Heritage

The saltworks of Salins-les-Bains and Arc-et-Senans demonstrate outstanding universal value in terms of the chronological timeframe during which the extraction of salt lasted in Salins, certainly from the Middle Ages, and probably from prehistoric times, to the 20th century. The thermal spa aspect of the site is still in use today. The saltworks also demonstrates outstanding universal value by the specificity of salt production in Salins-les-Bains and Arc-et-Senans, based on a technique of tapping sources of salt deep underground, the use of fire to evaporate the brine and the 18th century innovation of creating a 21 kilometer-long pipeline to carry the brine between the two sites. The saltworks express their value as well in the exceptional architectural quality of the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans and its participation in the movement of ideas in the Age of Enlightenment. It is testimony to a visionary architectural project of a ‘model factory.’ Developed and built by the architect and supervisor of saltworks in Franche-Comté and Lorraine, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736–1806), Arc-et-Senans is the modern and Utopian extension of the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains.

The Royal Saltworks of Arc et Senans was chosen as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. In 2009, The Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains joined the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans on the World Heritage List because of its important industrial heritage.

Criteria for selection

Criterion (i): The Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans is the first architectural complex on this scale and of this standard designed as a place of work. This is the first instance of a factory being built with the same care and concern for architectural quality as a palace or an important religious building. It is one of the rare examples of visionary architecture. The Saltworks was the heart of an Ideal City that Claude-Nicolas Ledoux imagined and designed encircling the factory. The unfinished Utopian architecture of the Saltworks still carries the full impact of its futuristic message.

Criterion (ii): The Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans bears witness to a fundamental cultural change in Europe at the end of the 18th century: the birth of industrial society. Besides being a perfect illustration of an entire philosophical current that swept Europe during the Age of Enlightenment, the Royal Saltworks heralded the industrial architecture that was to develop half a century later.

Criterion (iv): The saltworks of Salins-les-Bains and Arc-et-Senans provide an outstanding technical ensemble for the extraction and production of salt by pumping underground brine and the use of fire for its crystallization, since at least the Middle Ages through to the 20th century.

Source : Unesco / ICOMOS

Tourist Offices

Tourist Office of Arc et Senans
3 Avenue de la Saline, 25610 Arc et Senans
Website - tel : 03 81 57 43 21.
Opening time:

November through March, Tuesday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m./ 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed on Thursdays and Sundays.
April through June, September and October, Tuesday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
July and August, every day: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Tourist Office of Salins les Bains
Place des Salines, 39110 Salins les Bains

Website - tel : 03 84 73 01 34.
Opening time:
October through March, Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
April through June and September, every day: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m./ 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
July and August, every day: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m./ 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.


The Tourist Office offers several discovery tours (free, with map) of the city of Salins-les-Bains.
For children 7 to 12 years old
The booklet "Master of Secrets" guides children on a treasure hunt through Salins-les-Bains. The booklet is available at the Tourist Office of Salins-les-Bains
 (in french).

Transport

Getting to the Royal Saltworks of Arc et Senans

By car

On the way from Dijon to Lyon: Highway A39, exit Gendrey/Saline royale 

From Strasbourg : Highway A36, exit Besançon

By train
Gare SNCF
25610 Arc et Senans
Website – tel : 36 35
This train station does not have a ticket counter, however a ticket distributor is available. 
TGV from Paris : 2 hours, 20 minutes


Getting to Salins Les Bains

By car
On the way from Dijon to Lyon: Highway A39, exit Poligny 

From Strasbourg : Highway A36, exit Besançon

By train
Gare SNCF
Rue de la République, 39330 Mouchard
Website – tel : 36 35.
Gare de Mouchard (8 km from Salins) and connection from Mouchard to Salins by SNCF bus in about 15 minutes.
 TGV from Paris : 2 hours (gare de Mouchard or Dole).

Sleeping / Eating

Accommodation and eating

For accommodation: The selection proposed below consists of establishments that offer quality services at competitive rates, they are considered as references in their respective categories. These addresses are nearby the classified areas. The prices shown are for the off season, on the basis of 2 people.
For restaurants : “Formule” corresponds to a lunch special with a starter and a main course, or a main course and a dessert. The “menus” usually consist of a starter, a main course and a dessert, for lunch or dinner.

At Salins les Bains and Arc et Senans

Hôtel La Saline Royale ***
25610 Arc et Senans
Website - tel : 03 81 54 45 17.
Room  €113.
This Hotel is located inside the buildings of the Royal saltworks. Open from March through October.

Hôtel – Restaurant des Deux Forts ***
Place du vigneron, 39110 Salins les Bains
Website - tel : 03 84 73 70 40
Room from  €79.
Restaurant
"Lunch formule" from €14. "Menu" from €26.90.

Hôtel - Restaurant des Bains ***
Place des Alliés et de la Résistance, 39110 Salins les Bains
Website - tel : 03 84 37 90 50.
Room from €90.
Restaurant
"Menu" from €25.

In the Surrounding area

Château de Germigney ****
Rue Edgar Faure, 39600 Port-Lesney
Website - tel : 03 84 73 85 85 .
Room from €100.
Restaurant - gourmet cuisine
"Lunch menu" (Monday to Friday) €45. "Dinner menu" from €65.
At 7 km, south of Arc et Senans.

Bistrot de Port Lesney – inspired traditional cuisine
Place du 8 mai, 39600 Port-Lesney
Website - tel : 03 84 37 83 27
"Menu" from €29.
At 7 km, south of Arc et Senans.

Hôtel – Restaurant Les Caudalies ***
20 Avenue Pasteur, 39600 Arbois
Website - tel : 03 84 73 06 54.
Room from €79.
Restaurant :
"Lunch menu" (Monday to Friday) : €19. "Dinner menu" from €43.
At 10 km, south of Salins les Bains.

B&B "Closerie Les Capucines"
7 Rue de Bourgogne, 39600 Arbois
Website - Tel: 03 84 66 17 38.
From €125.

Restaurant La Balance – Mets et Vins – traditional cuisine
47 Rue de Courcelles, 39600 Arbois
Website - 03 84 37 45 00.
"Lunch menu" (Monday to Friday) : €19.80. "Dinner menu" from €29.
At 10 km, south of Salins les Bains.

Media

The Royal Saltworks, World Heritage site Michelin Voyage