Saline Royale/

Architecture – History of salt – Creation

Saline Royale

The Saline Royale is one of the founding members of the ACCR, and has been a heritage site for culture (CCR) since 1972 with its projects on the theme of architecture, history of salt and creation. In 1982, it became the first industrial site to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.


The Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans was built between 1775 and 1779 by the visionary Enlightenment architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, on the orders of Louis XV. Constructed in a geometrical arc, it was an integrated factory complex which also housed most of its workforce. Rendered obselete by the introduction of new technology, the saltworks closed its doors as a factory in 1895. It was purchased by the Doubs département in 1927, saving it from ruin, and the site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1982. In 1970 it became an international centre for reflection on the future, before working with Jacques Rigaud on the foundation of the network of heritage sites for culture.



The Saline Royale is today managed by a public organisation for cultural cooperation (EPCC). The project is based on the site’s roots – architecture, salt manufacture, the Enlightenment and garden design and its activities are threefold:

- a reference site for Enlightenment architecture, with a mission to transmit its rich heritage to future generations (museums, guided visits, activities for young people);

- a place where artistic creation and research are encouraged and supported (residencies, exhibitions);

-  a place of expertise, exchange and knowledge (conference centre, specialist bookshop, cultural programming).

A key heritage site with a cultural and scientific project which mirrors its past and explores the greatest challenges of today’s world, the Saline Royale has strong links with the local area (60 partner schools) and a national and international reach (UNESCO, European projects).



La Saline Royale offers guided tours of the monument and its permanent collections, as well as year-round artist residencies, an artistic and scientific programme of temporary exhibitions of the visual arts, conferences and a large festival of gardens. Having chosen to make children its priority, La Saline Royale has developed a range of educational activities under the banner ‘It’s my heritage’, along with heritage lessons, the Fête de la Science and numerous workshops. Finally, the site houses the province’s first specialist architecture bookshop, a conference centre with over 100 business events and 6,000 attendees each year, a 3-star hotel and a summer restaurant.

Since 2016, La Saline Royale has welcomed Jordi Savall and the Concert des Nations for a three-year residency, in partnership with the ministry of culture, the Doubs département and the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. The presence of Jordi Savall at La Saline gives its artistic activities an important international dimension and offers Jordi Savall a prestigious French venue for creation, transmission and diffusion.



In Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, in addition to partnerships with cultural institutions, universities and several international tour operators, La Saline Royale collaborates on the Festival des Jardins with 25 horticulture schools and landscape designers, centres for professional training and specialist organisations. On the national scale, La Saline has partnerships with the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, the national architectural schools of Paris-Malaquais, Montpellier and Nancy, as well as the national landscape design schools of Versailles, Blois and Angers, with whom it works to develop its temporary exhibitions, gardens and architecture festivals. La Saline also has a presence at the heart of international networks and is developing four cooperation projects supported by European Commission, with partners in Switzerland, Spain, the UK, Germany and Italy. These projects focus on culture, tourism and professional training.