The ancient saltworks already exist since the middle ages and provided work for hundreds of people. It contained of many buildings, itself being like a fort. There are natural springs of salt water, coming from the infiltration of underground water through layers of salt crystals. This salt water (called brine) was then pumped up. During the guided visit you will go down to the cellar where you'll find the pumps which were built in the 18th/19th century and are still running. The brine then was heated so that the water evaporated and the salt was left. During your visit you'll see the place where this was done. The saltworks were in use until 1962, and the salt water is still used for the thermal bath.
The guided tour takes about 1 hour and is in French only. However you can get a sheet with information on the saltworks in other languages. The guide tells more than on this sheet, though, and I did regret that my French is so poor as it seemed like a very interesting guided tour.
The saltworks are not disabled-accessible as there are lots of steps to take - first down to cellar and then up to the "heating room". Only the small exhibition is on the ground floor.
Admission: adults 4,70 €, children (12-14 years) 2,50 €, young adults (15-26 years) and students 2,80 €, Passport inter-musée 4 €
Opening hours vary throughout the year. Please check their website for details.
The Fort Belin is found on one of the hills of Salins-les-Bains in a hight of 584 meters and dates from the 11th century. It looks more like a medieval castle than what we saw of Fort André, but unfortunately you cannot visit it as it's private. But there's a viewpoint nearby, with a picnic benches. From there you have a very nice view on the town, and also on Fort Belin.
It's similar like the viewpoint at Fort St André, but the street to Fort Belin is easier to drive than to Fort St André, it's not so mountainous!
On one of the hills of Salins-les-Bains you'll find the Fort St André. Unfortunately it's only open in July and August so we could not visit it. But there's a viewpoint when coming up the street, and being around 600 m high, you have a great view on the valley with the town and Fort Belin on the opposite hill from there.
There were some kind of fortification at this place around 1000. It was extended more and more, but then in the 17th century got completely destroyed. It was reconstructed and fortified then by Vauban between 1674 and 1680. In the early 20th century, sick persons and many children were treated and cured there. Today you'll find different kinds of accomodation on the grounds of the fort that can be booked via their webpage.
Open for visits July & August, Mo-Fr from 14:00 to 17:00 (depending on weather) and on a few week-ends in July & August (check with tourist-information on when).
Admission: 3 €
Salins can easily be visited by foot, although you may need to walk a bit up and down depending what you want to see.
In the tourist information office, you can get information on two walking tours to discover the town, each lasting just 20 minutes. This map is free and available in several languages, with some short information what you'll see on your way. As we had to wait for the next guided tour through the saltworks, we followed one of these city tours which was very nice, going along the Furieuse river. The river indeed was a bit furious - it's small but was rushing quickly past!
Next to Fort Saint André, there's a high rope course, with different "tracks". There's also one for children. It's mainly on a fenced part of the forest.
It's definitly nothing for me as I'm afraid of heights, but it looks interesting!