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The Blue Mine

Dive into the Heart of the Slate

Domaine(s) : Geology

Region : Pays de la Loire


A story to pass on, an adventure to share...
Equipped with a safety helmet, "blue helmet for adults and white for children", and of course a little woolen jacket (constant temperature at the bottom of the mine is at 13°C), you board into the elevators for a direct descent to 126 meters underground.
At the bottom, as soon as the doors open, the last suspicions of a visit that would take place in a reconstructed mine decor disappear. The light dims and your eyes take a few seconds to get used to this dark environment. Under your feet as above your heads, the rock is omnipresent here and the silence is almost total.
After a few minutes of travel in the galleries, you arrive in the heart of the old mining site, in the middle of a authentic extraction chamber with striking dimensions.

“Welcome to the heart of the old slate quarries of La Gâtelière! ”
Here, everything seems to have been frozen for a century and it is a real journey into the past that begins. At the heart of this former mine in operation from 1916 to 1936, you will discover the origin of slate, its mining techniques and more broadly, the life of the men who extracted and reassembled the blue limestone at the beginning of the 20th century.
Beyond the story of the slate quarries of La Gâtelière, the visit of the Blue Mine invites you to discover the history of a unique industry, identity of Anjou, which marked its inhabitants and shaped the landscapes.
At the end of the visit, you reach "the mound of splitters" and discover the main stages of making a slate according to the methods of yesteryear.
"Debiter", "querner", "bouquer ", "split" and "round" are all words with which you will be able to familiarize yourself, with demonstrations in support.
There are hundreds of them on the surface of the site, the splitters worked the slate shale until obtaining a fine slate of standard size intended to adorn our roofs.
Its natural properties, which have made one of the most common roofing materials and its surprising fissility, will then have no more secrets for you!


Opening period:
From April to November
- Non school holiday periods:
o Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays: from 10am to 7pm (last entrance at 4:45pm)
o Wednesdays: from 2pm to 6pm (last entrance at 4pm)

- School holiday periods:
o Summer: from 10am to 7pm (last entrance at 4:45pm)
o Easter & Halloween holiday periods: from 2pm to 6pm (last entrance at 4pm)
o Week-ends: from 10 am to 7pm (last entrance at 4:45)

Details are available on the official website by clicking here below.

Plan 2 hours for your tour.
Disclaimer : The management team of the destination has the possibility to change the opening days and hours without prior communication.


Slate slot demonstrations do not take place continuously. They are led by the guides and are offered as a continuation of each visit. The entertainment area is outdoors: bring umbrellas for bad weather days.
It's cold in the mine (13°C): bring warm clothes.


La Gateliere
49250 Noyant-la-Gravoyere

Noyant la Gravoyere is located near the center of the trapezoid formed by Angers, Nantes, Rennes, Laval.

N 47°42'17'', O 00°57'14''

Click here to see the route (on a new tab)

Site internet officiel :