Royal Saltworks

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Claude Nicolas Ledoux, 1736–1806

Arc-et-Senans, Franche-Comté, France; 1774–79

Salt is now plentiful and can be cheap. Humans are regularly told to beware of consuming too much of it, but in traces it is an essential mineral for health, and it used to be expensive. In France, the production of salt was controlled by the king and it was heavily taxed. Around the coasts, especially where the sun shone, it could be produced by evaporating water from the sea. Inland there were salt mines.

Arc-et-Senans, 500 km (300 miles) from the coast, was a major site for salt production. The salt came from Salins-les-Bains, some 16 km (10 miles) ...

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