Underground refuges and shelters

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Les Boves

Category : Underground refuges
Department : Pas-de-Calais

Les Boves furent aménagées à partir du XVe siècle dans d'anciennes galeries d'extraction de pierre à bâtir datant du Xe siècle. Aménagées en caves, écuries et logements, elles servirent de refuges pendant les périodes de troubles. Au cours de la première guerre mondiale plus de 30 000 soldats britanniques s'y abritèrent et pendant la dernière guerre les habitants d'Arras y descendirent pendant les bombardements aériens.

Ouverture : Les visites sont organisées par l'Office du Tourisme en principe tous les jours.

Office du Tourisme d'Arras
Hôtel de Ville - Place des Héros
62000 Arras

TEL : (33) 3 21 51 26 95
FAX : (33) 3 21 71 07 34


Naours Underground City

Category : Underground refuges
Department : Somme

The caves were constructed the barbarian invasions period (3rd and 4th centuries) and later in the 9th century at the time of the Norman invasions. From the year 800 until the Revolution of 1789, wars and invasions followed each other in Picardy and the population regularly used the caves of Naours as a refuge. Under Louis XVI's reign, they even served as "faux saulniers" (salt smugglers) to escape salt tax.
In 1887, Abbot Danicourt rediscovered and explored the caves of Naours.
During both world wars the caves were no longer used as refuges for the population but were requisitioned by the military forces. Thanks to the various writings on the walls and the objects and coins discovered when the caves were reopened, it is possible to not only date the periods in which they were occupied but to also imagine the life led by the populations who took refuge there. This is what makes the Grottes de Naours so interesting to visit. The place is opened to the public since 1949.

Opening : Everyday from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm from February 1 till November 15, (from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm from April 1 till August 31).
Visit lasts 45 mins.

5, rue des Carrières
80260 Naours

TEL : (33) 3 22 93 71 78
FAX : (33) 3 22 93 44 77

Access : Naours is situated between Amiens and Doullens, some 35 miles south of Arras.



Souterrains of Provins

Category : Underground refuges
Department : Seine-et-Marne

The basement of the town of Provins is riddled with medieval underground galleries. The origin of these souterrains goes back in the XIIth century. At that time, the clay that was extracted there was used to mat and dry-clean wool. Indeed, the Middle Ages, Provins was an important draper city. Later served as underground warehouses for merchants during the Champagne fairs that took place in the city. In the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries, souterrains were use for discreet meetings of the local freemasonry lodge. This activity has left many esoteric graffiti on the walls of galleries.
Only a small portion of the underground is open to visits which invariably begin from the low room located under the Hotel-Dieu, they continue to occur in underground tunnels leading to a very nice trade room with sculpted capitals.

Opening : From January 1 to April 3 and November 3 to December 31 (closed Dec. 25) on weekends, holidays and all days during school holidays guided tours at 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm.
From 4 April to November 2 weekends, holidays and all days during school holidays : guided tours from 10.30 am to 6 pm. Weekdays: visits at 3 pm and 4 pm.


TEL : (33) 1 64 60 26 26


The Sculptures Cellar

Category : Underground refuges
Department : Maine-et-Loire

Recently discovered, these underground cavities sheltered in the XVIth century, during religious wars, a strange brotherhood which sculptured there high relief at least anticlerical and licentious (for this time). Unfortunately, since their discovered, sculptures preserved under a concrete screed (which replaces the quarry ceiling, disappeared for a long time) deteriorate slowly.

Opening : Not guided visits:
-From April 1st till May 31 from 2 PM till 6 PM.
-From June 1st till August 31 from 10 AM till 7 PM.
-Of 1-st in 30 September from 10 AM till 6 PM.
-For groups, all days on appointment.

49700 Dénezé-sous-Doué

TEL : (33) 2 41 59 15 40
FAX : (33) 2 41 59 21 72

Access : Deneze is a small village situated at 4 miles to the North of Doue-la-Fontaine. The cellar is situated in the village.


The Underground Refuges (Muches) of Domqueur

Category : Underground refuges
Department : Somme

Domqueur's "muches" was used as refuges until the 17th century while Picardy was ravaged with looters' bands coming from nearby provinces.

Association des Amis des Muches
4, place de l'église
80620 Domqueur

TEL : (33) 3 22 28 09 17
FAX : (33) 3 22 28 09 17




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