From the beginning of the basin’s development, Guérande pushed its salt workers out of its walls to the villages of Saillé, Clis and Queniquen, but the town didn’t forget to reap the colossal profits. In the 9th century, the term “Varrande” (Guérande) was well known to the Scandinavians; two centuries later we find “Garrande”. It was salt which made the riches of the town, well before its fortification.

Up to the 17th century, the salt trade and transport was assured by the Bretons, who used the sea and rivers to ensure its distribution, whilst enabling the local lords to levy a tax on boat traffic. In the 17th century, trade became more international, with the Dutch, then the Swedes in the 18th century.

At the end of the 18th century, the Guérande people complained of unfair competition due to taxes and from Russian and Iberian products, and despite the better quality local product (there were guarantees that the salt was not mixed with that of Noirmoutier), exports declined.

The 19th century was marked by the disastrous consequences of Napoleon’s European policies. Guérande salt was affected by new taxes replacing the “gabelle” (an unpopular salt tax), the continental blockade and an 1840 law which reduced import taxes and opened western markets to rock salt.