Map of the French salt-tax posts (1781)
Published in a “Report to the King”, dated January 1781 by J. Necker
© Bibliothèque Nationale
A distinction used to be made between regions of high salt-tax (e.g. Burgondy, Ile de France),
where sale price and amounts were imposed, and regions of low salt-tax (e.g. Languedoc, Provence)
where the price was less than half the former but also imposed.
Still other regions (e.g. Brittany and Béarn) were exempted from paying any salt-tax,
creating large scale smuggling that was severely repressed.
The arbitrariness of the zoning and the abuses of the officers in charge of fraud repression explain the people hatred against the salt-tax, a symbol of the ancient regime that was denounced by the revolutionaries in 1789.