Maison de la Pierre de Volvic


Useful Information

Location: 2 Route du pont Jany, Volvic, Département Puy-de-Dôme.
Open: 10-FEB to 08-MAR Tue, Wed, Thu 11-13, 14-17.
09-MAR to 11-APR Mon-Fri, Sun 11-13, 14-17.
12-APR to 03-JUL daily 11-18.
04-JUL to 23-AUG daily 11-19.
24-AUG to 27-SEP Mon-Fri, Sun 11-13, 14-18.
28-SEP to 01-NOV Mon-Fri, Sun 14-18.
Tours every 15min.
[2015]
Fee: Adults EUR 7.20, Children (5-12) EUR 5.70, Children (0-4) free.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 6.50, School Pupils EUR 5.20.
[2015]
Classification:  Rock Mine
Light: electric
Dimension: A=503m asl, T=10°C.
Guided tours:  
Photography:  
Accessibility: Site attainable for handicapped persons.
Bibliography:  
Address: Association pour la Promotion de la Pierre de Volvic, BP 2, 63530 Volvic, Tel: +33-473-335692, Fax: +33-473-622381. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:54:45 $

History

 
13th ctystart of mining.
19th ctyheyday of the mining.
1752the naturalist Monsieur Guettard discovered the volcanic origin of the Chaîne des Puys.
1899because of a water shortage Jean Legay-Chevalier drills a 45m deep well and discovers groundwater.
1922old well reactivated.
1929village supplied with water from the well.
1971first plans to create the museum.
1979opened to the public.
2007museum renovated and reopened.

Description

In this 700 year old underground quarry the pierre de Volvic (rock of Volvic) or lave de Volvic (lava from Volvic) was mined. This is an ancient lava flow of the volcano Nugère, which cooled down and formed a thick layer of basaltic rock. But this is not a common basalt but trachyandesite. It was mostly used for sculptures and reliefs.

The museum is dedicated to men who cut the rock. It was created by the Association pour la Promotion de la Pierre de Volvic (Association for the Promotion of Pierre de Volvic). The guided tour is an informative introduction in local geology or volcanology, the forming of the rock, the ancient mining methods, and the various uses of the rock. It includes a huge underground part, the underground quarry.

The 19th century mining is explained by the story of Jean Legay-Chevalier. He was the owner of the quarry Pierre de Volvic around 1900 and an important man. He was also wine grower, professor at the Ecole d'Architecture (School of Architecture) and known for his social commitment. He invested in various projects to improve the living and working conditions. He invented a dismountable wooden crane for his quarry, which was called cheval de bois (wooden horse) and initiated the construction of the railway Batignoles from Riom to Volvic. But his probably most spectacular and influential discovery was the discovery of an underground brook in the volcanic rock. In 1899 was a water shortage at Volvic, but water was needed for the quarry works, to cool the steel wire ropes of the saws. The geologist Monsieur Gautier worked on this area and he supposed there was an underground layer of water. So Jean Legay-Chevalier started to drill a well, but it was dry to a depth of 45m. When they had reached the ground water, the entrepreneur ran out of money, he had already spent 6,000 francs, an enormous sum for this time.

The small village Volvic is today well known all over the world for its mineral water. The water is a result of the geologic history of the area, which is mostly of volcanic origin. The water flows through volcanic rocks which is said to give the special and healthy mineral content to the water.

Volvic is worldwide known for its water, but it is also the home of stone trades with its world of quarry-workers, sculptors and lava enamellers...

A Thousand Years Old Origin...

The House of the Stone is located in Volvic, north to la Chaîne des Puys. It is a former quarry made of tunnels and digged by men in the heart of the stream of la Nugère's volcano which blasted 13 000 years ago. This walk-through offers an original immersion at the core of this stream fashioned by the strength of courageous men that had considered the value of this ageless stone...

A Promising First Initiative

In 1979, l'Association pour la Promotion de la Pierre de Volvic (the association for the promotion campaign for Volvic's stone) was aware of the spot's legacy potential and opens la Maison de la Pierre (the House of the Stone) to the public. Within a 26-year lifespan, the walk-through which was offered has charmed more than a million visitors.

The House of the Stone is Given a Second Youth in 2007

Alterations have been made by the Communauté de Communes Volvic Sources et Volcans (Community of Villages of Volvic's springs and volcanoes) to give a new life to the walk-through of la Maison de la Pierre. The site has opened its doors again in April 2007 in a scenovision form.


Text provided by Amélie Escurat (2015). With kind permission.


See also


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