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Europe 2017

Sanibel Has Its Shells and Guerande Has Its SALT!

FRANCE | Thursday, 31 August 2017 | Views [357]

We visited the famous walled city of Guerande today. It is unique because the entire wall is in place and inside there is a small but thriving little town with many of the shop owners living within the city walls in charming homes that are hundreds of years old. The city itself, dates back to the 1300's. (Seems to be the magic number) Of course, there were changes in the wall over the centuries including switching from arrow holes to larger apertures to allow for cannons.
The moat is also in place. Now, however, it is filled with placid water, fish and lovely floating flower boxes. Didn't see any ducks in the moat but children were feeding the fish and creating quite a frenzy among them as they went after the bread crumbs.
Many of the shops within the walled city were an interesting assortment of artisans, home made candies, a "Salt Museum" as well as several other shops selling 20- 40 different types of salt, hand harvested in the region. One shop in particular had just about every spice and herb and spice imaginable, mixed with the famous sea salt - basil, cumin, ginger, saffron - you name it. It smelled great but lets face it, salt is salt and I could just feel my blood pressure getting ready to elevate if I dared to sample all the different salts that were being offered.
Off site, in little man- made ponds (the size of small swimming pools), near the ocean, the salt is harvested from May through September. They use a special long rake and continuously gather the salt water and let it evaporate leaving the salt residue. Some of the salt is collected at this point but much of it is further refined.
Another shop that you wouldn't find at home, was a "Medieval Shop". It sold authentic replicas of clothing worn by the gentry, hundreds of years ago. And it would probably do quite a business around Halloween in the States.

Many towns in France have Medieval Fairs during the summer months and people really get "into it". Of course it helps when it is being held in an authentic castle or town that was built during the Middle Ages! We've had the good fortune to attend a few and they really are something to experience!


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