Guérande, France

A medieval town totally worth its salt

By Shubhra Krishan

Guérande is located on the Atlantic side of France. More specifically, it’s called the Loire-Atlantique region. The town boasts a crystal-clear USP: Salt. More about that in a moment. First, here’s how to get there:

You could take a bus, train, flight or drive down. We would recommend the train; a breezy 3-and-a-half-hour ride from Paris deposits you in this charming medieval town. For us, the tourism board had planned a wonderful itinerary, taking us by train to the gorgeous oceanfront resort town of La Baule, and by car from there to Guérande.

Walking within the magnificent medieval walls of Guérande, you’ll discover eye-popping varieties of salt in every colour imaginable. Heaps and heaps of the world’s most basic condiment—we’re told more than 10,000 tonnes of coarse salt are produced here every year! And this is where the most prized of them all, fleur de sel, was born.

The narrow streets have a host of specialty gift shops and art galleries. Excess baggage alert!

Sit down for lunch at one of the many creperies, and tuck into the delicious salted caramels produced locally.

Chocolate and salted caramel crepe at Tod Mountain Cafe | Flickr

The old ramparts have four gates; the Porte Saint-Michel now houses the Musée et les Remparts de Guérande where you can find out about the town’s salty history.  You also get to walk for a bit on the fortifications.

The place is paradise for photographers, too. There are two contrasting landscapes: the white salt marshes and the black peat bogs.

The Salt Marshes

After you’re done admiring—and of course buying—all that salt, head to Terre de Sel, a living museum which explains how this unique place in France harvests the world famous Salt of Guérande. Lots of history here!


Know Before You Go:

  • You should be pronouncing Guérande as Gay-ronde
  • The name probably originates from Gwen-Ran in the language of Brittany, which means “white city” in reference to the salt marshes which isolate it from the continent.
  • Guérande is home to the Saint Aubin collegiate church, the busiest second religious monument of Pays de la Loire.
  • Got kids? Take them to the Musée de la Poupée et du Jouet Ancien, which has a fine collection of antique dolls and toys

The following tourism boards hosted us on this wonderful trip  to France:

Atout France

Pays de la Loire Tourist Board

La Baule Tourist Office

Talking of France, here’s where you should put up on your next visit there! – Vertigo Hotel, Dijon : Very Romantic, Very French!

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