Most people know Camargue in France as a big delta where Rhone river flows into the Mediterranean sea. There live a lot of great birds like pink flamingos and migratory birds you can see in natural park like the Pont de Gau bird park.
Camargue is also famous for its Camargue cattle breed and the cow boys called gardians. This is a rich area composed of very big pastures where cattle eats a lot of good grasses. Cattle is gathered every spring for breeding, branding and earmarking cattle. Games like rodeos or corridas are organized which attract a large public and are an opportunity to party.
But we’ll see that later this month as soon I’ve some pictures to show 🙂
Today, let have a focus on another industry in Camargue, the salt manufacturing. You’ve already seen one picture of a evaporation pond, now let’s have a look on the salt harvesting process.
I was last week at a salt factory closed for the week end. Access were closed by a high fence but I found out a tiny passage to go through, then I arrived at a little tunnel. Once crossed, I stopped, stunned by the sight!
Imagine a pure white landscape with big salt dunes and used mechanicals dispersed everywhere. I was at first sight impressed by the contrast of the white dunes with the blue and yellow colors of the mechanicals as you can see on some of the pictures.
There were salt water everywhere on the ground and a lot of wind which made this quick trek not really easy and comfortable. By jumping over a big puddle I fell into the water and was instantly soaked and salted! Fortunately, my camera was safe and was able to take the following pictures! 🙂
Let me now quickly describe the process of the harvesting of the salt.
First of all, once the water inside the pond is entirely evaporated and that the surface looks like a big white desert, the salt is picked up with tractors to form large dunes of salt:
Then a excavation tractor digs into the dune to extract and pick up the salt:
The salt is after that driven from the tractor onto a conveyor belt placed near the dune and intended to collect the excavated salt:
Finally, this conveyor belt moves the salt to a treadmill that drives the salt into the factory beside the tunnel I crossed when I arrived, you remember? 😉
As the factory were closed at that time I was unable to take pictures from the inside. But I know there is another salt factory not far from my home I could visit. So I hope to go there to take picture and show you the whole process!
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