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Salt production & our business

Marais salant La Gabelle Noirmoutier Vendée

End of February

 We shorten our marshes: that is to say that we lower the water level so that the vettes (small levees which separate the parts of a marsh = passage in the marsh) dry up to access the marsh.

During March

 We clean the marshes of all the silt (algae), the mud that has accumulated during the winter in the marshes (rectangles used to heat the water) the water towers and the carnations (squares of water); we consolidate the clothes.

Schéma Marais salant La Gabelle Noirmoutier Vendée

Diagram of the Gaillard marsh

During April or May

  When the tide coefficients allow it (over 80), the salt water from the sea arrives at the port of Noirmoutier to be directed into the Moulin channel, through locks, in order to supply the whole salt marshes according to individual needs.


We bring the water (with the help of a valve) from the Moulin's etier into the vice (1) then into our basins (2) serving as a reservoir for supplying salt water from our marshes

By a wooden coef system (with holes of different diameters used to regulate the level of water according to evaporation according to the sunshine and the wind) we supply water to our living rooms (3), our water (4) and in the sticking parts (5) where it ends its course after having obtained a maximum concentration in salinity.

Using a plug, we direct it into the tiller (6) used to feed the eyelets (7) as needed.


The carnation is composed of a clayey bottom.


Salicorne La Gabelle Marais Salants Vendée Noirmoutier

At the end of May

Towards the end of May, the glasswort appears on our marshes.

A small wild plant that grows only in a salty environment, rich in minerals and vitamins, we harvest it from the end of May to mid-July. Using a knife we prune the plant so as to collect only the tender part allowing it to grow back several times on the same foot.

Cooked fresh, it is eaten like green beans, hot or cold. We also put it in vinegar or use it as a condiment.


From June to September

  Salt production is generally carried out from June to September depending on climatic conditions.

The harvest is interrupted as soon as the weather is rainy.


The fleur de sel appears in the form of crystals floating on the surface of the water. Corinne harvested it with a lousse.

The next day, the latter dries naturally in the sun on tables provided for this purpose in order to remove all impurities (midges, ants, etc.).

The fleur de sel is used at the end of cooking or on the table where it will sublimate all your dishes.

Once the fleur de sel has been harvested, the salt worker can then draw the coarse salt onto the table using a salt pan.

The salt crystals appear at the bottom of the carnation following the evaporation of the brine water.


Every two or three days, we push the salt towards the table using a spatula to form a heap of salt there, from 80 to 100 kg on average in high season. We will let it drain overnight and roll it the next morning to the Tesselator (8).

With a rotation of 20 carnations per day, we can harvest approximately 1000kg of coarse salt daily