A remarkable natural area

Salins d'Hyères

Considered to be one of the most remarkable features of the Var coastline, the salterns or Salins d’Hyères site is made up of two elements a few kilometres apart: the Vieux Salins pans and the Salin des Pesquiers. In order to preserve these unique natural sites, in 2004 the Toulon Provence Méditerranée metropolitan area took over responsibility for the management, maintenance and development of the site, which is owned by the coastline conservation agency (Conservatoire du Littoral).

 Les Vieux Salins

Known to have existed in the 10th century (but probably older still), the salterns were originally made up of a number of small, independent salterns that were combined into a single production unit in the 19th century. This history gives the Vieux Salins its complex architecture in what is now a largely natural landscape.

Le Salin des Pesquiers

Right at the heart of the double tombolo formed by the Giens peninsula, this saltern was constructed more recently (in 1848) as a single unit following an almost perfectly drawn grid pattern typical of Mediterranean salterns. The carefully preserved buildings of the salt works evoke powerful echoes of their industrial past.  

Managed to encourage biodiversity

The salterns management scheme implemented by the Toulon Provence Méditerranée metropolitan area and the coastline conservation agency (Conservatoire du Littoral), with the assistance of the Port-Cros national park and the town of Hyères, comprises two main elements:

  • Optimising ecological heritage:
    • Maintain and develop the ecological and biological value of aquatic environments.
    • Protect land environments and their associated fauna and flora.
    • Develop scientific monitoring of natural heritage.
    • Repurpose the industrial salterns site as a natural site of special biological importance.
  • Providing reasoned public access:
    • Protect sensitive areas from the impact of public access.
    • Enable reasoned cultural and tourist development.
    • Create a space to provide education on the environment and foster an understanding of the site.
    • Perpetuate the memory of the salt panning activity, including resuming a its small-scale activity for heritage value.

Did you know? It was to distinguish it from the "newly" opened Salin des Pesquiers that the original Saint-Nicolas site was renamed the Vieux Salins (old salterns). Note, too, the use of singular and plural to distinguish between the two: the Salin des Pesquiers is singular, since it was designed as a single production unit, as opposed to the plural form for the Vieux Salins, reflecting the many small, independent  salterns that originally made up its complex mosaic. 

TPM's partners

Conservatoire du Littoral (coastline conservation agency)

 

Port Cros National Park

 

Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (bird protection league)

Contact

Espace Nature des Salins d’Hyères

Rue de Saint-Nicolas Village des Vieux Salins 83400 Hyères

Telephone: 04 94 01 09 77

Open Wednesday to Sunday.

  • January to March and November to December: 10h00 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 16h30.
  • April to June and September to October: 9h00 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 17h30.
  • July and August: 9h00 to 12h00 and 16h00 to 20h00.

Key figures

  • Vieux Salins: 350 hectares
  • Salin des Pesquiers 550 hectares
  • 73 nesting sites
  • 114 over-wintering species
  • 260 bird species
  • a population of some 800 flamingos in winter