Le Salin de Gruissan, nicknamed "the pink lake", is one of the most remarkable natural areas in France. It was 100 years before Jesus Christ that the first traces of “white gold” appeared in Gruissan, a village which proved to be favorable to the exploitation of salt. Since antiquity, salt has been harvested from the Mediterranean Sea. The conditions to do so are perfect in the South of France. Apart from space for the salt ponds, all you need is sun and wind. And they have plenty of that there in the south!
Le Salin de Gruissan welcomes its visitors with a stunning display of pink lakes cast against a blue horizon. Each summer, salt is harvested here by hand using traditional methods.
Le Salin de Gruissan is situated between the Mediterranean Sea and a lagoon known as l’Étang de l’Ayrolle. Marshland was converted to salt fields that now cover an area of 400 hectares (990 acres). Sea water is pumped and travels 40km through the network. From over one hundred types of salt present in sea water, this process can isolate the only salt commercialized by Le Salin de Gruissan: sodium chloride.
Dunaliella salina, a micro-algae, gives Le Salin de Gruissan its gorgeous pink glow. Flamingos relish eating it and the large amounts of carotenoids produced by the algae turn their feathers pink. One of the back-salt fields is especially dedicated for flamingos who are known to reproduce happily there. Flamingos by nature are naturally gray, but this micro-algae is actually put in their food…. proving, you really are what you eat!