Witnesses to a bygone era, little stories from the great local history, here the walls tell you and make you feel the rich past of the place. Here, we retrace the broad outlines of this history. As for the details, they can't be told, they have to be experienced.
From yesterday to today...
It was in 1848 that the site we're standing on experienced a new boom with the creation of the Salin and the Hameau des Pesquiers. At the beginning of the 19th century, the demand for salt (particularly for new industries) increased dramatically. With supply limited, investors were looking for new locations to set up salt works.
The morphology of the Hyeres coastline once again revealed its full potential. In particular, the étang des Pesquiers, which until then had housed a fishery, was the site on which Messrs Gérard and Chappon (Société des Salins et Pêcherie d'Hyères) created the Salin des Pesquiers. The simplicity of its hydraulic system, the ingenuity of its design and its output of around 30,000 tons per year make it a model of its kind.
Situated in the heart of the double tombolo on the Giens peninsula, this saltworks was designed as a single unit with a virtually perfect grid structure, typical of Mediterranean saltworks.
In 1856, the Compagnie des Salins du Midi acquired the Vieux Salins complex and modernized it to compete with the Salin des Pesquiers. Healthy competition then existed between the two sites (loans of equipment, labor, etc.). The Compagnie des Salins du Midi then became a shareholder in the Salin des Pesquiers, eventually acquiring it outright in 1967.
As a result of this latest acquisition, the Vieux Salins site was "mothballed", as the Compagnie des Salins du Midi refocused its salt-making activities on the Pesquiers site.
In 1984, the Vieux Salins went back into production. However, compared to the gigantic sites at Aigues-Mortes (400,000 tons of salt/year) or Giraud (1,000,000 tons of salt/year), the Salins d'Hyères (40,000 tons of salt/year) are, from an "industrial" point of view, small salt works that are costly to maintain and manage. One by one, France's "small" Mediterranean salt works closed down, and in 1995, all the sites in Hyères were shut down for good (for economic reasons). Abandoned by man, the hamlet gradually fell into disuse.
The rebirth and safeguarding of the site
by a local, family-run company
Since 2015, the local family group Les Maisons Lelievre has been working to rehabilitate the hamlet, raising this emblematic site from the ashes and transforming it into a 5-star ecolodge, the first in the region. Luxury through Nature.
The philosophy of the project remains the harmony of materials, respect for the history of the site and the enhancement of the environment.
The buildings, once home to the families of the salt workers "Les Saliniers", have been completely restored. The vegetable garden, which fed the villagers, has been replanted. The hamlet's DNA has been preserved and even exacerbated by the modern comforts of the facilities and the preservation of the surrounding environment.
In keeping with these commitments, the Hameau des Pesquiers was awarded the prestigious and selective European Ecolabel as soon as it opened.