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Salins-les-Bains travel guide

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Visit Salins-les-Bains (Burgundy-Franche-Comté, France)

Salins-les-Bains is found south-west of Besancon in the Franche-Comte region of France, near Arbois. A spa town and salt producing centre in the Jura, it is at the bottom of a deep valley through which the River Furieuse flows.

The town is overlooked by two forts that were built due to the valley position of the town which was once a key strategic spot on the road to Switzerland.

Exploring Salins-les-Bains

Salins-les-Bains is best known for its historic salt mines*.  Salt extraction here finally stopped in 1962 and the old workings are now open to the public and a good place to start your visit. It is also here in an new industrial style building that you can find the Salins-de-Bains tourist office.

The remaining industrial buildings cover a large area in the centre of the town, although only about 20% of the original buildings still remain today, and several of the monuments in the town centre started life as part of the complex of buildings producing salt, including the gatehouse.

You can see the vast workings of the underground chambers dating back to the 13th century and now a UNESCO world heritage site, and various equipments associated with its extraction can be seen in the associated Salt Museum.

* It is hard for us now to imagine how important and valuable salt was a few centuries ago, when it was crucial for much food preservation, and by the 17th century it was one of the most sought after products available. Control over the production of this valuable commodity made the local Chalon family very rich and powerful.

In Salins-les-Bains town there are also some buildings of interest, such as the classical style 18th century Town Hall, which unusually also has prison cells because the town hall was also the local court.

Take a stroll along the Rue de la Republique for more neo-classical architecture (the street was rebuilt in the early 19th century after a fire destroyed the previous buildings), then perhaps visit the apothecary in the 17th century Hotel-Dieu to see numerous pottery items from the same period.

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The most important church in Salins-les-Bains is the Collegiale Saint-Anatoile. The gothic style church dates from the 13th century and has a very unusual facade with ornate windows either side of the entrance, and a clocktower that was once a defensive watchtower.

The Chapel of Notre-Dame Liberatrice behind the Town Hall is noteworthy for its unusual roof design that incorporates a dome and a lantern tower.

After exploring the salt mines and town be sure to visit the two forts above the town: the Fort St André, reinforced by the renowned French military engineer Vauban, and the 19th century Fort Belin with a lovely view across the town below.

Attractions nearby

To the east of the town, in a lovely verdant spot, the river Lison emerges as a waterfall from the bottom of a cliff.

About 20 kilometres away at Arc-en-Senans the Royal Saltworks was a 'model village and industrial base' established in the 18th century to extract salt from the water from Salins-les-Bains and is also now a UNESCO listed heritage site.

You can find more travel ideas in the Jura guide and the Franche-Comte guide.

See also: 

Map of Salins-les-Bains and places nearby

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Visit near Salins-les-Bains with France This Way reviews

Arbois

Arbois

After exploring the old town centre in Arbois you can visit the scenic Cirque de Fer à Cheval nearby

Arbois guide
Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans

Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans

The Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans is an entire factory and living spaces that were once the centre of the important local salt industry

Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans guide
Chateau de Cleron

Chateau de Cleron

The gardens of the Chateau de Cleron can be seen next to the Loue River in the village of Cleron in Doubs

Chateau de Cleron guide
Ornans

Ornans

The highlight of your visit to Ornans is the section along the Loue river, crossed by old stone bridges and with lovely houses on the riverside

Ornans guide
Chateau-Chalon

Chateau-Chalon

One of the key reasons to visit the pretty village of Chateau-Chalon is its hilltop position with lovely views across the vineyards in the valley below

Chateau-Chalon guide
Lods

Lods

Lods is quite small but very pleasant to explore, in particular the village along the waterfalls on the Loue river

Lods guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Jura

Tourist classifications for Salins-les-Bains

Salins-les-Bains has received the following tourist classifications: listed town of Art and History ; recommended detour town (plus beau detour)

Address: Salins-les-Bains, Lons-le-Saunier, Franche-Comte, 39110, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 46.941, longitude 5.8791

Plan your visit to Salins-les-Bains, Jura

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Arbois: town of art and history (9 km)
  • Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans: heritage site (13 km)
  • Forêt de la Joux: site of natural beauty (15 km)
  • Source - la Seille: site of natural beauty (24 km)
  • Chateau-Chalon: most beautiful village (28 km)
  • Cascade de la Billaude: site of natural beauty (29 km)
  • Lods: most beautiful village (30 km)
  • Lac de Chalain: site of natural beauty (31 km)
  • Lac du Fioget: site of natural beauty (31 km)
  • Baume-les-Messieurs: most beautiful village (31 km)
  • Gorges de la Lemme: site of natural beauty (31 km)
  • Lac du Vernois: site of natural beauty (33 km)

The French version of this page is at Salins-les-Bains (Francais)

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