The Guérande Peninsula

White Gold or the Salt of Life                                   

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Guérande, which is located high up on a hill and is surrounded by thick town walls, is the main town of a small peninsula surrounded by water: to the south there is the Loire river, to the north the Vilaine river, to the east the marshes of Brière and to the west the sea

The peninsula will delight the visitor with its lively ports, its marshes and castles, its granite villages and thatched roofs, not to mention its traditional customs.

A special treasure has been harvested on the Guérande peninsula for thousands of years - white gold or the salt of life. In recent years, a young generation of salt farmers has rediscovered the old techniques dating back more than 1,600 years and today they produce top-quality products here. The marshes of the peninsula cover an area of 1,800 hectares and form a natural paradise which is home to many migratory birds.

Visits to "Terre de Sel" in Pradel, the salt marsh museum "Musée des Marais Salants" in Batz-sur-Mer and the salt-farmers' co-operative "Maison des Paludiers" in Saillé are an ideal way of getting to know this unique world as well as its traditions and methods.

Take a break in Kerhinet between Guérande and Saint-Lyphard. The museum in this small village of thatched houses illustrates the craftsmanship involved in reed-working while the weekly market offers an opportunity to sample regional products and learn something about the lives of salt farmers.

Afterwards, rent a boat at the landing stage in Bréca and take a tour of the reeds at Brière. La Brière is a natural habitat dominated by the cycle of water, which contributes to an explosion of life from the source of the Brivet river to the Loire. Although the marsh only developed after the first humans settled here, it continues to exist to the present day.