Salins-les-Bains is a village in the Jura department in Burgundy-Franche-Comté region, about 40 km south of Besançon.
The city developed in a basin at the bottom of the valley of the Furious, a stream flowing from the Loue and its prosperity was forged from the antiquity on the production of salt. A "white gold" which was also the spearhead of the commune near Arc-et-Senans, in the Doubs, the two production units being connected by a 21 km "salmon pipeline" Salt water or brine).
In the 19th century, industrial units (plasterers, sawmills, earthenware factories) were added, and in 1854 a spa establishment was opened, which in turn exploited the mineral wealth of the city's waters. This is why the very name of the city which derived its etymological origin from the word "salt" was completed in 1926 to become Salins-les-Bains.
In the twentieth century, the municipality that counted more than 8,000 inhabitants in 1800 experienced a real decline: the saline closed its doors in 1962 and the earthenware stopped their activity in 1995.
While the population is now only about 3,000 inhabitants, the city concentrates its activity on thermalism and tourism, whether linked to its industrial past or to the green natural heritage of the region.
No stage or stay in Salins-les-Bains without obviously beginning with the visit of the old salt, that is to say the factory that exploited salt production. Different techniques have been used over the centuries to obtain salt by artificial evaporation (unlike open salt marshes, such as by the sea, and whose lowest operating cost was due to the salt mines of Franche-Comté).
Occupying formerly more than 15,000 square meters in the city center, Salina was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009 as an original industrial unit prior to the 19th century. Henceforth, only a part of the buildings, including a carriage, towers, an underground gallery, remained. The tour is guided and gives free admission to the dedicated museum. Open all year. Information and reservations at +33 3 84 73 10 92. Price: 7,50 and 4 euros (children, students).
Still in terms of architectural heritage, it is worth dwelling at the town hall (XVIII), of classical style, but which used to shelter a court of justice.
On the religious level, the Saint-Anatoile collegiate church (13th century, Gothic style Burgundy), with its facade decorated with two windows of flamboyant style, its carved oak door and its defensive bell tower is to be seen, like the Notre-Dame chapel Liberator, built in the 17th century after the city was spared from the plague. Its dome with a lantern tower is exemplary. Inside, a lead statue of Notre-Dame and 15th-century polychrome wooden statues are preserved.
Return to civilian heritage with the Apothicairerie, a pharmacy of the seventeenth century still furnished and equipped with technical elements (alembic, jars, surgical instruments, faience...) and ornamental 17th and 18th centuries. Rue de la République, one will appreciate the numerous private mansions of the 19th century (after a fire in the center in 1825), neo-classical style, in gray stone, and which testify to the wealth of the bourgeoisie then.
Always in town, impossible not to notice the twenty fountains proving all that the city owes to its water! Some are genuine sculptures, the oldest of the sixteenth century.
Guided tours of the city are organized and leaflets available. Please contact us on +33 3 84 73 01 34.
Finally, the military fort was the fort of Saint-André, built in the 10th and then reorganized by Vauban, which culminates at 600 m and the fort Belin, dating from the 19th century but having been built on the site of a medieval castle, culminating in 580 m, dominate the city.
These two sites are hiking goals, as is also the Mont Poupet, 800 m above sea level, now popular with paragliding enthusiasts. Many points of view mark the path that goes up there.
In general, 200 km of hiking or mountain biking trails have been built on Salins-les-Bains and its surroundings. There is also a "chemin des gabelous" (customs) linking the city to Arc-et-Senans. For more information, please call +33 3 84 73 01 34.
Always in the open air, the discovery of paragliding is possible (including for people with reduced mobility). Contact at +33 6 32 90 84 91. And for the youngest, an acrobatic park offers sporting and fun routes. For further information: +33 9 73 12 26 18.
But no question of leaving Salins-les-Bains without admiring the architecture of the spa (managed by the city) and even take advantage of the opportunity for a few pleasures (jacuzzi...) or care, failing to follow a cure For therapeutic purposes. Information on +33 3 84 73 04 63.
In May, from Thursday of the Ascension to the Sunday following, the Four Days of Salins mix commercial entertainment and shows for all audiences.
In May always, the festival Chansons en Fête offers shows of French song.
It is chamber music, on the other hand, that is honored in July at Salines en Musique.
In August, animations around science and astronomy are proposed with La Tête dans les Etoiles.
The Journées du Livre, finally, are organized in September and bring together many authors who have come to meet the public.
In a different way, the terroir of the region is honored Thursday and Saturday morning in the market, in the city center.