Discovering salt country and ponds in Moselle

Updated on 2024-04-23
velorail-pays-saulnois

In this article, I take you to the Pays du Saulnois in Moselle, this time a little further from the border with Alsace. I've got a good reason for doing it: discovering the land of salt and ponds is worth a few extra kilometers! I was indeed seduced by this corner of Moselle, which offers some rather unexpected landscapes. I must say, I didn't expect to see so many ponds, let alone find salt in Lorraine!

Laurène
Laurène
Laurène is the blog's creator. Originally from Brittany but now living in Alsace, she has fallen in love with her adopted region and loves exploring its every nook and cranny to unearth great ideas to share with you!

Marsal Salt Museum

Salt? In Lorraine? Yes, that’s what I said to myself when I arrived at the Musée départemental du Sel de Marsal, curious to understand the logic behind this seemingly incongruous presence. In fact, the presence of salt dates back to the time when the sea covered this part of the territory… 220 million years ago! Through evaporation, seawater has left salt in Lorraine’s subsoils.

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musee-departemental-sel-marsal

This was exploited as early as prehistoric times in the Saulnois region, where salt was found on the surface (emerging in salt ponds, hence the name of the town of Marsal), unlike in other areas where it is buried more deeply. A visit to the Musée départemental du Sel de Marsal will reveal how this white gold has been mined and used since ancient times. Really interesting!

musee-sel-marsal

On your way out of the museum, I recommend a visit to the nearby salt pond. A pleasant 3km trail takes you there, and you might even see some salt springs! What’s more, it’s a very pleasant walk through a bucolic landscape.

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mare-salee-marsal

To complete the discovery, you can also take part in a guided tour of the buildings of the Salines Royales de Dieuze.

Spin Valley Velorail

Here’s an idea for afun family activity: the Vallée du Spin Vélorail welcomes young and old for a pleasant ride on the old Dieuze – Bénestroff railway line, the “salt line”. Two circuits are proposed, one of 13.4km (circuit du sapin) and the other of 24km (circuit des explorateurs). I’d advise you to opt for the latter, as you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it, and the added bonus of an unusual passage under a historic tunnel. What’s more, the landscapes we pass through are really pretty: forests, fields and meadows, just the thing for a breath of fresh air!

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tunnel-velorail-vallee-spin

Don’t let the distance scare you: the velorails are equipped with electric assistance, so pedaling isn’t at all difficult! We settle in, and off we go… In my opinion, the only drawback of the velorails is the noise they make on the tracks: you have to be pretty loud to be able to talk.

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vallee-spin-velorail

At the finish of the 24km circuit, there are shaded picnic tables, perfect for a pleasant break before setting off on the return journey. You can bring your own picnic or reserve one of the baskets offered by Vélorail – I’ve tried them and they’re really good! Concerts and other events are also often organized, so don’t hesitate to check out the latest velorail news.

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Walking near the ponds

In the land of ponds, of course… You can go for a walk near the ponds! I took advantage of a nice break in the weather to go for a run around the Lindre pond in Tarquimpol, which is really pretty. I didn’t follow any signposted circuits, but don’t hesitate to consult the ideas for walks suggested by the tourist office.

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Sleeping at Château d’Alteville

How about a night at the castle? Le
Château d’Alteville
is located in Tarquimpol, on the outskirts of the village. It is part of a family estate comprising two châteaux (one 16th century and one 18th), a farm, a pond, land and forests. From April to October, it’s possible to sleep in the 18th-century château, which houses magnificent, comfortable guest rooms.

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salon-chateau-alteville

I fell in love with this guest house, which is sublime yet simple: sublime because of the location, but simple because of the kind welcome from David, the owner! You immediately feel at home at Château d’Alteville, it’s incredible. What’s more, our prices are very reasonable.

chambre-chateau-alteville

In addition to overnight stays, we offer a table d’hôtes, with home-style cooking featuring local produce (especially from the château’s farm). The meal is shared with all the guests and with David, who knows how to put everyone at ease. What a great evening!

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You can also take advantage of your stay at Château d’Alteville to stroll or relax in its immense park… And don’t forget to say hello to the super rock’n’roll chickens! 😛

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hen

Sainte-Croix Wildlife Park

We’re moving slightly away from the Saulnois region, but it’s impossible not to mention the Sainte-Croix Wildlife Park, just 20km from Dieuze. I’m not a big fan of zoos or wildlife parks in general, but I find this one really different from the others, with really important spaces for the animals. You can visit the park by the day or book one of the unusual accommodations on site. They’re great but very popular, so book VERY early!

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