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Salins-les-Bains (Municipality, Jura, France)

Last modified: 2017-05-31 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Salins]

Flag of Salins-les-Bains - Image by Ivan Sache, 8 March 2010

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Presentation of Salins-les-Bains

The municipality of Salins-les-Bains (3,045 inhabitants in 2008; 2,468 ha) is located in the Jura mountains, 15 km north-east of Arbois.
Salins-les-Bains owes its name to saltworks (in classic French, saline, from sel, "salt"; the modern use of saline is restricted to lagunas and salt marshes).

Closed in 1962 after a 1200-year exploitation, the Salins saltworks were registered on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in June 2009 (extension of the registration of the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, see below).
In the Middle Ages, the town, known as Salins-du-Jura, was the second biggest town in Comté after Besançon. Salt water, drawn, later pumped from underground salt sources, was heat- evaporated, using wood from the neighbouring forests as fuel. In the beginning of the 19th century, wood was replaced by coal.

In 1775, the utopist architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux built the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, on the border of the Chaux forest. Located in the middle of an ideal city, the Royal Saltworks evaporated salt from water brought from Salins via two 21-km long wooden "saumoducts". Closed in 1895, the Royal Saltworks was preserved from destruction and registered on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1982, as follows:

The Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, near Besançon, was built by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Its construction, begun in 1775 during the reign of Louis XVI, was the first major achievement of industrial architecture, reflecting the ideal of progress of the Enlightenment. This vast, semicircular complex was designed to permit a rational and hierarchical organization of work and was to have been followed by the building of an ideal city, a project that was never realized. The Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains, where brine has been extracted since the Middle Ages if not earlier, features three buildings above ground: salt stores, the Amont well building and a former dwelling. It is linked to Claude-Nicolas Ledoux's Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans and bears testimony to the history of salt extraction in France.

The Salins salt water has been used in a spa since 1854. Modern medical use is permitted in rheumatology, gynecology and child growth trouble. Accordingly, the municipality of Salins was officially renamed Salins-les-Bains in 1926.


Ivan Sache, 8 March 2010

Flag of Salins-les-Bains

The flag of Salins, as hoisted on the town hall (photo), is vertically divided red-yellow.
The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms, D'or à une bande de gueules ("Or a bend gules"). These arms belonged to the lords of Salins, who descended from Alberic (Aubry) of Narbonne (885-943), Viscount of Narbonne and the first Count of Mâcon, also the first lord of Salins in 942-943.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 8 March 2010