Southern France region is home to the beautiful Pink salt ponds, that are absolutely stunning.
- The term “salin” is French and means salty. In this context, a salin is a (very) large salt deposit next to a salt marsh.
- Salins d’Aigues Mortes are located between the sandy, Mediterranean beaches near Montpellier to the West and the Rhône River to the East.
- Aigues Mortes has over 8.000 acres of salins, composed of over 60.000 tons of salt.
- The Camargue region has a booming salt production industry. Each year, the region produces over 300.000 tons of salt, of which 90% is sold for direct consumption.
- Camargue hosts 200 out of the 900 European bird species. And it’s the home to about 15.000 flamingos which just perfects the idyllic scenery.
- Salins are man made evaporation ponds. The seawater enters them and as it evaporates, the salt is leftover ready to harvest. The seawater is pumped here from the month of March to September over different salt flats until it reaches the saltpans. The salt is then harvested between August and October.
- Pink water in the salins comes from a pink algae (Duanaliella Salina) which lives in it. This pink algae is the main source of nutrition for miniscule shrimp. Once the water passes a certain level of salinity, it becomes too salty for the shrimp and they can’t survive. Which, in turn, means the pink algae takes over, no longer having a predator to keep the population down. And as a consequence, the water takes on an intense pink color from such a high presence of the algae.
- Fun fact: Shrimps eat these algae and the flamingos eat this shrimp. The pink color is transferred from the algae to the birds. Baby flamingos are naturally grey until they are three years old, then they turn white and over the years they slowly turn pink.
- Best time to visit is in the summer.