Grande Saline of Salins-les-Bains

Grande Saline of Salins-les-Bains

From the 8th century to 1962, Salins-les-Bains benefited of this exceptional gift of nature : salt. In the Middle Ages, Salins-les-Bains became the economic capital of Franche-Comté, and Grande Saline, one of the largest industrial complexes in Europe, generated half of the region's income. 820 people worked for salt production, which reached 14 000 tons per year and fed Franche-Comté, Burgundy and half of the Swiss cantons.

Initially drawing salt water from surface springs, Grande Saline required two wells dug at 13 meters depth in the 12th century. To protect the precious salt, the wells were vaulted from the 13th century by an underground stone gallery 165 meters long and 10 meters high. This majestic gallery, cathedral-like, houses an hydraulic pump system dated on 18th and 19th centuries still functioning : a 5-meter-diameter wheel driven by river water actions a 32-meters-long wooden balancing pole and a pump, which draws salty water at 246 meters depth. The brine pumped, contains 330g of salt per liter. 

But it’s in the evaporation building that the brine was transformed into white gold, by heating it in big pans. Today, Grande Saline preserves the tools used for the gathering and the last salt pan in France, a moving testimony of the labour and the memory of saltworkers.

Opened to the public in 1968, the Grande Saline is a place steeped in history, preserving the memory of unexpected know-how and a remarkable human adventure, as well as architectural and technical elements unique in Europe. 

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Grande Saline

3 place des salines

39110 Salins-les-Bains


- The guided tour is the only way to go on the underground gallery

- 50 steps to go down and up on the underground gallery

- The temperature in the gallery is 12°C

- Dogs are allowed only is they're carried during the whole tour.


Opening time - Guided tours 2023


January, February, March, November, December : opened every day from 10:00 am to 12:00 am and from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Guided tours in French every day at 10:30 am - 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

April, May, June, September, October : opened every day from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.

Guided tours in French every day at 10am - 11am - 12am - 2:30pm - 3:30pm - 4:30pm

July, August : opened every day from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.

Guided tours in French every day at 10am - 10:30 am - 11:00 am - 11:30 am - 12:00 am - 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm - 4:30 pm - 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm.

We also offer two tours in foreign languages in July and August

12:30 : English tour
13:00 : German tour


Out of these periods, we give documents translated in 8 languages to foreign visitors. It's also possible to download the translated tour in the website of Grande Saline.


Prices for guided tours for individuals 2023 (only way to discover the underground gallery)

Full adult price: 9 €
Reduced prices (pass Juramusees, 2 Saltworks, ICOM...): 8 €
Child from 12 to 18 years old, student, job-seeker, disabled person: 5 €
Child from 7 up to 12 years old: 4,5 €
Child under 7 years old: free


Prices for the salt museum (without a guide and without the access to the underground gallery)

Full price: 4,5 €
Reduced price: 4 €

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Association Franche-Comté Evasion
Correspondance à adresser à :
Musée de plein air des Maisons comtoises
Pôle Communication-Accueil
Rue du musée
25 360 NANCRAY
Tél. 03 81 55 29 77

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