"La claire" Marennes Oléron : a very special environment
For centuries the claires of Marennes Oléron have possessed the same characteristics. Situated between the land and the sea, they are the reflection of these two environments.
Formerly ponds for the production of salt, now converted, the claires are lower than the level of the highest tides. They are filled and emptied by the tidal cycle. Each individual claire has its own circulatory system, and is accessible either across the land or by boat to make their utilisation and maintenance easier. The clay which forms the sides and bottom of the claire is impermeable.
The shallow water of the claire allows sunlight to penetrate easily to the bottom and favourises rapid thermal exchange which in turn promotes growth of phytoplankton, the natural food of the oysters.
Seen from the air, the clusters of claires look like a mosaic on the landscape. No two are alike, but that which ties them together is stronger than that which differentiates them.