Salins-les-Bains (French pronunciation: ​[salɛ̃ le bɛ̃]), commonly referred to simply as Salins, is a commune in the Jura department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in Eastern France.[3] It is located on the departmental border with Doubs, 34.8 km (21.6 mi) to the south-southwest of Besançon. In 2018, Salins-les-Bains had a population of 2,567.

Salins-les-Bains Town Hall
Salins-les-Bains Town Hall
Flag of Salins-les-Bains
Coat of arms of Salins-les-Bains
Location of Salins-les-Bains
Salins-les-Bains is located in France
Salins-les-Bains is located in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
Coordinates: 46°56′31″N 5°52′45″E / 46.9419°N 5.8792°E / 46.9419; 5.8792Coordinates: 46°56′31″N 5°52′45″E / 46.9419°N 5.8792°E / 46.9419; 5.8792
IntercommunalityCC Arbois, Poligny, Salins – Cœur du Jura
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Michel Cêtre[1]
24.68 km2 (9.53 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019)[2]
 • Density100/km2 (270/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
39500 /39110
Elevation284–737 m (932–2,418 ft)
(avg. 350 m or 1,150 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

The town owes its name to its saline waters which shaped its history for centuries; they continue to attract visitors today, for the town's bedrock contains salt and gypsum deposits. In 2009 the historic saltworks were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as an addition to the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans site, which was inscribed in 1982.[4]


Salins is situated in the narrow Valley of the Furieuse, between two fortified hills, Fort Belin and Fort Saint-André, while to the north rises Mont Poupet (851 m or 2,791 ft).


Salins was an important city in Celtic times and was an oppidum of Ancient Rome.[5] The territory of Salins, which was enfeoffed in the 10th century by the Abbey of Saint Maurice-en-Valais to the counts of Mâcon, remained in possession of their descendants till 1175. Maurette de Salins, heiress of this dynasty, brought the lordship to the house of Vienne, and her granddaughter sold it in 1225 to Hugh IV of Burgundy, who ceded it in 1237 to John of Chalon in exchange for the county of Chalon. John's descendants, counts, and dukes of Burgundy, emperors and kings of the house of Austria all bore the title of sire de Salins.

In 1477 Salins was taken by the French and temporarily made the seat of the parliament of Franche-Comté by Louis XI. In 1668 and 1674 it was retaken by the French and thenceforward remained in their power. In 1825 the town was almost destroyed by fire. In 1871, it successfully resisted the German troops in the Franco-Prussian War.

French composer Charles Galibert (1826–1858) was born in Salins-les-Bains.

Until the early 20th century, the slopes surrounding the town were largely covered in vines, which were however almost entirely abandoned after the phylloxera crisis decimated the vineyard. Little trace of this former activity remains today.

For much of the 20th century, the town was also famed for its potters, but today only three craftsmen continue to uphold this local tradition.

Great SaltworksEdit

Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Part ofFrom the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, the Production of Open-pan Salt
CriteriaCultural: i, ii, iv
Reference[ 203bis-002 203bis-002]
Inscription1982 (6th Session)

The extraction of salt at Salins-les-Bains began during the Middle Ages at the latest.[4] As early as 1115, there were two saltworks located at wells around the town, and because of the salt production, Salins-les-Bains was the largest town in Franche-Comté after Besançon in medieval times.[5] Deforestation in the region during the 17th and 18th centuries led to the creation of the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans, at a more favorable location near a large forest.[4][5] However, the brine extracted from Salins would still be used, being channeled to the Royal Saltworks, 21 km away, for processing.[5] In 1962, the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains ceased all production.[4]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 8,174—    
1800 8,125−0.09%
1806 8,374+0.50%
1821 7,271−0.94%
1831 6,554−1.03%
1836 6,700+0.44%
1841 7,481+2.23%
1846 7,178−0.82%
1851 7,112−0.18%
1856 6,470−1.87%
1861 7,361+2.61%
1866 6,308−3.04%
1872 6,045−0.71%
1876 6,271+0.92%
1881 6,419+0.47%
1886 5,833−1.90%
1891 6,068+0.79%
1896 5,607−1.57%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 5,525−0.29%
1906 5,290−0.87%
1911 5,272−0.07%
1921 4,471−1.63%
1926 4,721+1.09%
1931 4,607−0.49%
1936 4,563−0.19%
1946 4,363−0.45%
1954 4,930+1.54%
1962 4,451−1.27%
1968 4,259−0.73%
1975 4,177−0.28%
1982 3,923−0.89%
1990 3,629−0.97%
1999 3,333−0.94%
2007 3,045−1.12%
2012 2,801−1.66%
2017 2,586−1.58%
Source: EHESS[6] and INSEE (1968-2017)[7]


The town has a Romanesque church, St-Anatoile, which has been well restored, and a hôtel de ville from the 18th century. A 17th-century Jesuit chapel contains a library, established in 1593, and a museum.


Salins-les-Bains is on the Paris to Lausanne (Switzerland) road. The closest railway station is in Mouchard, a few kilometres away.

Twin townsEdit

See alsoEdit


  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Salins". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 71.
  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2019". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2021.
  3. ^ INSEE commune file
  4. ^ a b c d "From the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, the Production of Open-pan Salt". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d "From the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, the Production of Open-pan Salt". World Heritage Site. International Council on Monuments and Sites. Retrieved 11 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Salins-les-Bains, EHESS. (in French)
  7. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE