History of the building

A monument to centuries of salt farming history on the Ile de Ré, the former salt hangar was built on the island’s old port, Portes-en-Ré, and now has a new lease of life.  Part-owned by the Conservatoire du Littoral, it was renovated by the Ile de Ré Local Council to now accommodate the Maison du Fier, a museography centre dedicated to the natural heritage of the island.

Around 1914, two salt hangars were built on the docks of the old port, Portes-en-Ré.  Some years they would contain up to 2,000 tons of salt.  Following the gradual decline of the salt marshes, the coastal location became less and less profitable.

Around 1950, the port is now only used by a handful of fishing boats.  One of the hangars is demolished.  The other is converted into a maritime carpentry workshop.

In 1997, the organisation Conservatoire de l’Espace Littoral purchases a section of this hangar with the aim of creating a Maison de la Nature.

In 2000, renovation of the only remaining traditional salt hangar on the island is completed by the Ile de Ré Local Council.  The Maison du Fier (named after the bay of Fier d’Ars), opens its doors to the public …

In 2013, the building is extensively reappointed with a brand new, fully accessible museography centre, thanks to the support of the Ile de Ré Local Council, the Conservatoire du Littoral, the Local Councils of Charente-Maritime and Poitou-Charentes, a European contribution (with the FEDER programme) as well as the EDF foundation.  All this makes « Ré, île Nature »  a learning adventure not to be missed.

In 2020, Both the Nature reserve and the Maison du Fier celebrate their anniversary! The Nature Reserve is 40 years old and the Maison du Fier is now 20 ! for the occsion, a book was relseased portaying people who created the place !

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