The white gold of Pays de Retz

The Bay of Brittany (now the Bay of Bourgneuf) was the largest salt-producing area in Europe from the Middle Ages until the 16th century. This ensured its prosperity and international renown. Ships from the Iberian Peninsula, the British Isles and particularly Northern Europe would dock in the ports of Bouin, Bourgneuf and Le Collet to load up with "white gold".

It was from the 11th century onwards that the village of Bougneuf (now Villeneuve-en-Retz) experienced a major boom thanks to the exploitation and marketing of salt throughout Europe, well before Guérande and Noirmoutier. But this strategic position brought the Pays de Retz its share of misery and desolation during the Hundred Years' War (between 1337 and 1453).

Today, three salt workers operate a dozen salt pans in Villeneuve-en-Retz and Moutiers-en-Retz. Salt, considered to be naturally rich in trace elements, is harvested and produced using traditional methods.

How can you find out more? Come and meet our salt workers for a visit. It's a unique opportunity to share stories, traditions and experiences!
+33 6 11 23 87 75 LES MOUTIERS EN RETZ
+33 7 89 27 10 33 LES MOUTIERS EN RETZ
+33 7 83 06 94 64 VILLENEUVE EN RETZ