On Monday morning we drove to the town of Salins-les-Bains to visit the salt works museum. The production of salt was a major industry in this area for hundreds of years, and while the salt works in Salins-les-Bains (Les Grande Salines) has been closed for over 50 years, the facility has been preserved and partly renovated, and is now a museum where one can see what the salt works looked like and how it functioned. We took a self-guided tour, and it was fascinating. Unlike salt production done by mining salt or letting sea water evaporate, the production at Salins-les-Bains involved evaporation by heating underground salt water that was pumped up from the ground. The area was once covered by sea water, and when the water eventually dispersed, there was still salt water left underground.
VIEWS OF THE TOWN OF SALINS-LES-BAINS
VIEWS OF THE TOWN OF SALINS-LES-BAINS
After leaving the salt works, we took a stroll around the town. Monday is closing day for most shops, so we just walked through the town admiring the buildings and taking a few photos. Salins-les-Bains is situated in a narrow valley with the Furieuse River running through it, and there are two forts located high above the town.
We then drove from Salins-les-Bains to the town of Arbois, which is the center of the Jura wine region. We had spent a lot of time there 5 years ago when we stayed for a week a week at a gite nearby, but his time we just took a brief stroll around the town, which is as charming as I remembered. We also drove to the wine village of Pupillin just outside Arbois, since we wanted to visit Domaine Desiree Petit, a producer we had stopped at 5 years ago and really enjoyed. We tried a few wines and bought a couple of their sparkling Cremant de Jura wines.
After leaving Pupillin we went back to our gite and had a late lunch. In the afternoon we took a drive through several nearby villages and stopped at a couple of them to take a stroll and some photos.
On Tuesday morning we broke with our breakfast routine, which had involved picking up croissants and/or bread at a boulangerie the day before, since our first gite was a bit of a hike to the nearest bakery. However, we realized that the bakery in Ougney, the next town over from where we were staying this week was only a 4-5 minute drive, so after showering I drove to Ougney and picked up several croissants and a loaf of bread.
After breakfast we drove to Gray, a modest-sized town in the Haute-Saone departement on the Sane River, where there was supposed to be a weekly market on Tuesday morning. However, it was clear that there was no such market, so we spent some time walking around town, and picked up some provisions at an epicirie (small grocery store) and a butcher shop. We also made friends with a cat who came down from his roof to say hello. The center of Gray was quite attractive, but one thing that was noticeable was that there were lots of vacant storefronts for sale or rent, which might indicate that the town has fallen on hard times. There is a large Intermarche supermarket just outside the center of town, which might account for some of the failed shops in the center.
We then went back to our gite and had a lunch which included some of the provisions we had picked up in Gray plus the cheeses that the gite owners had given us. We also opened one of the Burgundy wines we had picked up at Domaine Pigneret at the beginning of our trip, a white Montagny 1er Cru, which was outstanding. After lunch we took a walk on a road leading out from our village, and passed a snail crossing the road. We waited until it had finished crossing (which took awhile, as you can imagine) to make sure no cars ran it over.
After our walk we decided to go back to the town of Rochefort sur Neron, which we had passed through on our way to our gite the first day and which looked like it was worth a visit. We first took a walk through the town center and then walked down to the Canal du Rhin et du Rhone, which connects the Rhone River with the Rhine River. The walking path along the canal led to the Doubs River, and we continued until we reached the next town before turning around. We then headed back to our gite for the evening.
|Tower in Rochefort sur Neron|
|Canal in Rochefort|
|Sign at a House Along the Doubs River|