La Cité Souterraine de Naours

The Underground City of Naours - Mouches - Grottes de Naours


Useful Information

Location: At Naours, 15km from Doullens and 18km from Amiens. Some 55km southwest of Arras.
Open: FEB to APR daily 10-12, 14-17.
MAY to AUG daily 9:30-18:30.
SEP to 15-DEC daily 10-12, 14-17.
Last entry 1h before closure.
[2010]
Fee: Adults EUR 10, Children (4-12) EUR 8.
Groups (35+): booking required.
[2010]
Classification: ExplainUnderground City
Light: electric
Dimension: L=3,000m, VR=33m, T=9.5°C.
Guided tours: Audioguide (Français - French Deutsch - German English Nederlands - Dutch)
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: La cité souterraine de Naours, 5, rue des Carrières, 80260 Naours, Tel: +33-322-937178, Fax: +33-322-934477 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.

History

3rd century first excavations.
1618-48 longest continuous occupation of the caves during the 30 Years War.
1750-1830 used by salt smugglers.
1887 rediscovered by Abbot Danicourt, the village priest.
World War I occupied by the allied forces, mainly Australians.
1939 the British stocked fuel reserves in the caves.
1941 the Germans turned the caves into ammunition dumps and lived there.
1942 the German headquarters was set up here.
1943 became a key base and part of the Atlantikwall.
1944 the Germans left.
1949 opened to the public by Mr Raymond Martin.

Description

Image: Die unterirdischen Zufluchtsstätten von Naours. From Franz Kraus, Höhlenkunde, 1894

La Cité Souterraine de Naours is situated between Amiens and Doullens, some 35 miles south of Arras.

It is a real city situated 33 meters under the ground below the town of Naours. It is the largest underground structure in Picardy and is a well know show mine.

Since the 3rd century, men have dug beneath the chalky plateau to protect themselves through times of invasions. They developed a network of galleries and long hiding places of three kilometers. A real underground city thus spread, formed of 26 galleries and 300 rooms that could shelter 3000 people and the livestock of the village. One finds in it the public rooms, stalls, wells and chimneys as well as a chapel.

As at Bouzincourt, smoke from fires in the refuges, were carefully routed through to the surface via cottages.

During the First World War, allies occupied the underground caves, and one finds on the walls graffiti from the Australians that stayed in it. In WW2 the German High Command making use of the tunnels as their H.Q. that lived there and installed their station of command during the years 1942 to 1944.

A good restaurant can be found on site, and a bouncing castle. Something to please everybody.


Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.