Reviews "The favorite farm of the French": Nicolas Arnould, happy picker of fleur de sel
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Nicolas Arnould will be one of the fourteen candidates presented in the program" The favorite farm of the French ", Wednesday March 3, on" France 3 ". The salt producer from Mesquer (Loire-Atlantique) likes to share his passion for the salt marshes with classes and tourists.
Outside the season from May to October, the activity is not intense. But Nicolas Arnould, who participates in the show, Wednesday March 3, on , regularly goes to his salorge - the typical building used by salt workers to store their salt and their tools - and its marshes that it has been pampering for thirty years. With respect and fervor.
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Time to ride with the King.
In the distance, on the other side of the Mès basin and its chessboard of salt marshes, rises a Templar commandery; behind, a few tens of meters, the Atlantic and its permanent wind. Magnificent.A real discovery
This son of an engineer, with his big blue eyes and his smiling face, was born in the Paris region. He had little chance of getting into traditional Atlantic salt production. Especially since after his schooling, Nicolas Arnould left for the opposite: towards Germany, a country without salt workers, to join a German woman crossed in Corsica.
The young man works for eight years in the Heidelberg region, meets his wife, Ursula there. "Me, I liked Germany, but my wife wanted to know France. And then I also had a sensitivity to work in the agricultural field ... "
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So, the couple, who will have three children, decided in 1989 to come and work, in the summer, on a farm in Mayenne. "After three weeks, Ursula wanted us to go to the seaside. We ended up with a salt worker my brother knew, in Mesquer. » And the almost thirty-something discovers an iodized, sumptuous setting, an agricultural practice a few meters from the sea, between wind and sun, to produce salt: a revelation! A few months later, here he comes back with his suitcases, Ursula will follow him.
This life in the great outdoors, handling tools like a thousand years ago, working meticulously on water levels, regulating the paths of salt water in the basins, all this delighted the new salt worker who, however, suffered in the beginning, not knowing if he would be up to it.
But training and tenacity prepared him for a successful career. If Nicolas likes the solitary work of the flower of salt picker, he also appreciates receiving tourists and students at the edge of the salt flats.
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How does this jovial ambassador of salt farming find himself in Stéphane Bern's show? "I don't know very well myself, they called me. I haven't taken any steps in that direction. " He suspects that his membership in the Accueil paysan network, since he has owned a rural lodge for rent, was the trigger. Nicolas does not refuse when it comes to discovering the world of the salt marshes.
The images shot last summer will speak volumes, he believes. Paludier? A difficult job but one that provides a lot of satisfaction. “In high season, when the weather is nice, we are happy. And when it rains, we can no longer produce salt, it allows you to rest. We are happy too! We are always happy! »
Discover the ranking of The favorite farm of the French, Wednesday March 3, at 9:05 pm, on France 3.
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