Explore the Saline royale

The Saline royale in a nutshell

The Saline royale of Arc-et-Senans was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1982. It is the masterpiece of Claude Nicolas Ledoux (1736-1806), a visionary architect of the Age of Enlightenment. It is also a rare example in the history of industrial architecture. Destined to produce salt, it was commissioned by Louis XV and built between 1775 and 1779.

The Saline royale operated as an integrated factory, where almost the entire working community lived. Built in a semi-circle shape, it comprised both living quarters and production spaces, i.e. 11 buildings in all. After becoming obsolete with the emergence of new technologies, the Saline royale closed in 1895. It had been abandoned, pillaged, and then damaged by fire in 1918 before the Département of Doubs purchased it in 1927, saving it from ruin.

Three successive restoration campaigns, which were completed in 1996, restored it to its former glory.

A little bit of history


Birth of Claude Nicolas Ledoux, architect of the Saline royale


Factory in operation


Acquisition by the Département of Doubs


Member of the international network of Heritage Sites for Culture


Inauguration of the Claude Nicolas Ledoux Museum


Opening of the Enlightenment Centre


Construction of the Saline royale


Closure of the salt factory


Albert Migeon, Edgar Faure and Michel Parent save it from being demolished


Registration on the UNESCO World Heritage List


First Gardens Festival


Revival of the Berne Est pan house as a performance and congress hall


The Saline royale today

The architectural part of the Saline royale, its history and its restoration make it a world-unique monument, open to everyone. Temporary and permanent exhibitions, new gardens, concerts, artistic residencies, children’s activities, conferences and innovative experiences take place here with every cultural season.

It also houses a 3-star hotel, a conference centre, a bookshop-gift shop, and proposes home-made food for individuals and groups.

Today, the Saline royale is reinventing itself with the landscaping project, Un Cercle immense (A Vast Circle), to enrich the five-hectare visitor trail.