Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
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CultureSnail Farming

Does any food say France more than snails or any landscape more French than a farm? So how about putting the two together and having a snail farm? Yes, in France you can find and even visit snail farms.

The snail farm I visited - Helixa in the French Alps, raises its snails in square pens with wood planks as fencing. Inside the pens are rows of roof tiles or short boards leaning against narrow planks on both sides to form long two sided pyramids. This seems to be what snails like as many were hiding in the pyramids.

Helixa has actives (listed admission – adults €3, kids €1) for kids including snail races and feeding time. Also snail farming is explained as is how snails live and yes, sadly how an escargot dish is made. It’s even possible to learn some snail trivia, for example that alligators like to eat raw snails.

Helixa has a weekly farmers market selling a mix of products from wine and cheese to fruits and vegetables.

Snail farming is called Heliciculture or Héliciculture in French and often it’s possible to find snails at most shops and local markets. If you would like to visit a snail farm, frequently farms are marked with a not to original sign with a snail on it.


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