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Salies de Béarn

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Salies de Béarn owes its existence, prosperity and it's… name to the salty spring - 10 times more salty then the sea water - that runs by.
According to the legend the spring was discovered after a boar hunt when a killed boar was discovered several days later perfectly preserved, its fur covered in salt crystals ( hence a boar on the badge of the town ).
Salt being a very prized commodity in ancient times, a concession system was started in 1587 with only around 500 concessionaires called "Part-Prenants" being allowed to extract the salt (the concession system is still in place today).
Today the source of salty water - called "la crypte du Bayaa" and situated almost under the town hall - is covered and open for visits. The town of Salies de Bearn - population 4759 - has an old part that developed after the salt discovery and a new part that was built starting from the second part of the 19th century when the thermal baths started to be fashionable.
The old part separated from the new one by a little spring (that apparently is NOT salty) has beautiful little streets bordered by houses many of which were built in the 16th and 17th century. One of them, called "Maison Darremoundine" and dating from the 17th century - is the house of the "Sel Museum".
Across the little "le Saleys" spring is the new more spread part of the town with its thermal baths establishment, built in the end of the 19th century, the park and the new casino.
As an ending note: the "AOC" - Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée - - for the famous Bayonne Ham can not be obtained it the ham is not salted with Salies de Béarn salt!

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Latitude:43.4706
Longitude:-0.9249
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