You have surely noticed that in Maine-et-Loire most roofs are made of slate and maybe you’d like to know where it comes from, how it is extracted. You are certainly in the right place to find out !
Find an accommodation
La Mine Bleue a unique site in Europe 126 metres below ground!
La Mine Bleue is an old slate mine where hundreds of miners worked during the early 20th century from 1916 to 1936.
A team of experienced, enthusiastic guides will greet you and give you a hard hat, ready to begin the adventure. A train takes you down the 126 metres; you are spared having to go down flights of steps like the miners had to… Once at the bottom, your eyes get used to the dim light and you’re off on a visit steeped in history. The guides are well-informed and their commentary is fun and enthralling, informative and sometimes humorous.
Being down the mine is a timeless experience as you tour the huge extraction chambers – a total change of scene !
With a miner’s helmet and lamp on your head and a fleece (the temperature is a constant 13°C down there), you are the Indiana Jones of Blue Anjou ! It is easy to visualize the life of men who worked underground and risked their lives. Although today the site is completely safe, firedamp and explosions were not unknown and many miners were sadly injured or killed.
So you have seen how slate is mined, but what happens to it next ? Back on the surface, the guides demonstrate how the blocks of slate are broken, cut, split and shaped. After your visit, you will be an expert on slate production and we’re sure you will look at the slate roofs of Anjou in a different way ! A rewarding experience for all ages.
La Mine Bleue is open from Easter to the beginning of November. No need to remind you that it’s a good place to visit in wet weather !
Explore Anjou Bleu
4km from La Mine Bleu is the site of another old mine, iron this time. Centrale 7 is a residence for artists, and the only one of its kind. The winding shaft still dominates the site which is a centre for art and cultural exhibitions and events, while maintaining the history of the mine and highlighting its heritage.The artists (Jimmix, Florent Maussion, Simon Pavec, to name just a few…) have drawn their inspiration from the soul of the mine to bring to life extraordinary works which give the building a special atmosphere. Visiting the centre gives a different approach to the subject of the mine.
La Mine Bleue is in Noyant-la-Gravoyère at the former slate mine of La Gatelière. It is at the heart of the Segréen area, 45 minutes from Angers, 1 hour from Laval, 1¼ hours from Rennes and 1½ hours from Nantes.
Discover Maine-et-Loire with Gîtes de France Anjou : Terra Botanica Angers, Louresse-Rochemenier troglodyte village, Bioparc de Doué-la-Fontaine, Angers, Saumur."