Enjoy a getaway just 15 minutes from the Domaine du Lambon, and visit a unique piece of French history: authentic silver mines, priceless relics from the time of Charlemagne and an industry that has long since disappeared in France.
Guided tours of the underground network of the Melle mines, beautifully presented in sound and light, bear witness to an incredible past, retracing the history of silver mining in Melle over 1000 years ago.
Visit the oldest silver mines in the world
Dating back to the 7th century, the extraction of lead and silver in these mines dates back to the reign of the Frankish Kings, evoking the illustrious names of Dagobert or Charlemagne! Used by the Carolingians for coinage and architecture, the resources of the Melle mines gave this place a certain prestige: it was the largest mine in the Carolingian empire, and the most important source of coins of the time.
In 864, only 10 workshops, including Melle, could produce the coins of Charles the Bald's empire: The denarius and the obole. Today, the Melle workshop has more than 10,000 Carolingian coins, an invaluable archaeological treasure. By way of comparison, the Paris workshop only has about 244 coins...
Discovering the treasures of the Carolingian Empire, in the heart of the Deux-Sèvres
A must for a stay rich in discoveries in the Deux-Sèvres, the Silver Mines site offers guided tours for all types of groups, whether they are families or larger groups.
The tours retrace the history of the mine between the 7th and 10th centuries, from the work of extraction to the metallurgy of the High Middle Ages, all brilliantly displayed in 3D films and sound and light presentations. Learn how the Carolingians mined silver and made their coins in the workshops at Melle.
Paleo-metallurgical animations are regularly organised at the Mines de Melle, in partnership with the town of Melle, the DRAC Nouvelle Aquitaine, the CEA and the CNRS.