Les souterrains de Philippeville

Philippeville Underground Passages

Useful Information

Location: 20, Place D'Armes Les Halles, 5600 Philippeville.
(50.196277, 4.542877)
Open: JUL to AUG daily 13:30, 15.
Online booking mandatory.
Fee: Adults EUR 6, Children (0-12) EUR 4, Seniors EUR 5.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 5.
Classification: SubterraneaCasemate
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=15,000 m.
Guided tours: L=600 m, D=90 min. Français - French Nederlands - Dutch Deutsch - German English
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Office du Tourisme de Philippeville, rue des Religieuses, 2, B-5600 Philippeville, Tel: +32-71-662300. E-mail:
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.


1656 tunnels created by Vauban.
1856 fortifications of Philippeville completely dismantled.
1960s developed for visits and opened to the public.
1974 acquired by the City of Philippeville.


The underground passages of the village Philippeville, called simply souterrains de Philippeville, were created during the 17th century to connect the fortress outposts with the main precincts. They were part of the changes hat Vauban, the most famous military engineer under Louis XIV, made at the Fortress of Philippeville. There are 15 km of passages, some 7 km are still in a good condition, about 600 m are open to the public. The walls of the fortifications of Philippeville were completely dismantled in 1856 because they were deemed useless for the defense of Belgium. The only remains are the underground tunnels. The tunnels which are not developed for tourism are protected as Cavités Souterraines d'Intérêt Scientifique (C.S.I.S.).

They are located between 4 and 8 m deep underground, sometimes built on two levels. The main galleries are 1.50 m to 1.80 m high, 1 to 1.20 m wide and lined with limestone rubble or sandstone and with barrel vault. Perpendicular to them are the secondary galleries which are smaller and more numerous. They are 1 to 1.50 m high and 80 cm wide. And finally, there are ventilation chimneys, rectangular ducts of 20 by 20 cm in the ceilings. Today they are mostly clogged. All the original entrances were filled in and lost when the fortifications were dismantled in 1856. The passages are no longer connected, they were closed by walls, landslides, and some are waterfilled.

The tours are offered by the Office du Tourisme de Philippeville, which is also the starting point. The visitors are first introduced into the history of the town and the region with a three-lingual movie. Then the passages are visited.