FEB to MAR daily 10-12. 14-17.
APR to JUN daily 9-12. 14-18.
JUL to AUG daily 9-19.
SEP to OCT daily 9-12. 14-18.
NOV to DEC daily 10-12. 14-17.
Adults EUR 7.50, Children (6-15) EUR 3,50, Children (0-5) free, Students (16-25) EUR 5, Disabled EUR 6, Family (2+2) EUR 19.50.
Audioguide EUR 1.50.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 6, Children (6-17) EUR 3, Students (18-25) EUR 4.
|Address:||Saline Royale, Institut Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Département Tourisme et Publics, 25610 Arc et Senans, Tel: +33-381-544545, Fax: +33-381-544546.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|29-APR-1773||Louis XVI signs the edict authorizing the construction of the saltworks.|
|1775||begin of construction.|
|1982||inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.|
The rocks below this area contain layers of salt, which is in the reach of the groundwater and leached out. Some of the springs in the area are salty, and the salt has been utilized by man for millennia. The use is simple: either let the water dry in the sun (protect from rain) or speed the process by heating the water.
The Saline Royal (Royal Saltworks) at Arc-et-Senans is a strange sort of mine. There is no mine at all, as there is an rather simple way to mine salt without underground or open cast mining activities: ground water penetrating through layers of salt dissolves the salt and brings it to the surface. The salty water of the springs is collected, evaporated and finally the salt remains.
So actually Arc-et-Senans is not the mine, it is the processing plant. And it is an impressive processing plant, an early example of industrial architecture. It was built by the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736-1806), a prominent Parisian architect of the time. He tried to create a really modern and pragmatic aproach by designing the semicircular complex to reflect a hierarchical organization of work. At the center of the semicircle lies the house of the director. On either side are the saltworks, two buildings 80m long, 28m wide, and 20m high contain the drying ovens, the heating pots, the "Sales des Bosses", and the salt stores.
The salt works produced 40,000 quintals of salt per year at its peak. It was owned by the king, based on a state monopoly for salt. The French government imposed a tax on salt consumption, the gabelle, which was collected by forcing everybody over the age of eight years to buy an certain amount of salt per year at a price the government had set. However, the salt produced at Arc-et-Senans was exported completely to nearby Switzerland.