Musée du Carreau Wendel

Useful Information

Location: Petite-Roselle. A320 exit 42 Petite-Roselle, signposted through the city.
Open: All year Tue-Sun 10-18.
Fee: Adults EUR 7, Children (6-18) EUR 3, Children (0-5) free, Student EUR 3, Reduced EUR 5.50, Family EUR 15.
Groups (13+): Adults EUR 4.50, Student (6-) EUR 2.50, School Pupils (0-6) EUR 1.50.
Reduction for visitors presenting a ticket of the Völklinger Hütte.
Classification: MineCoal Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: La Mine, grandeur nature: D=2 h.
Address: Musée du Carreau Wendel, 57540 Petite-Rosselle, Tel: +33-387-870854, Fax: +33-387-851624. 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.
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1793 Saarland becomes French.
1807 coal mining in the Saarland developed.
1815 Saarland becomes German, coal is missing.
1856 first coal mining concession for Petite-Rosselle.
1862 begin of coal mining at Wendel 2.
1866 begin of coal mining at Wendel 1.
1881 begin of coal mining at Vuillemin 2.
1939 begin of coal mining at Wendel 3.
17-MAY-1946 coal mining nationalize in France.
1985 first museum opened.
1988 mine closed, musuem moved to Carreau Wendel.
1998 museum renovated by a new founded Syndicat Mixte.
2004 last working coal mine of Lorraine and France, La Houve, closed.
28-OCT-2006 new museum opened.



The Musée du Carreau Wendel is located at the closed Carreau Wendel (Wendel Colliery) in Petite-Rosselle. This place is located only a few kilometers south of the German border. In 1856 the coal mining at Petite-Rosselle started with a concession Monsieur Charles de Wendel and James Georges Tom Hainguerlot obtained. The mine was soon opened, what is now Wendel 2 was sunk in 1862, in 1866 the pit of Wendel 1 was started. It was mined for more than 100 years until it was closed in 1988.

The first coal mining museum in the area was opened in 1985 in nearby Folschviller and named Centre de culture Minière (Centre of Mining Culture). In 1988 when the colliery was closed they moved into the former mine and created the Centre de Culture Scientifique, Technique et Industriel (CCSTI). They maintained the mine and preserved as much as possible, but as a non-profit organization of volunteers they lacked the necessary funding. This changed in 1998 when the French ministry of education and culture created a Syndicat Mixte (joint venture). In France this term means a joint venture between various public authorities of different types, typically the département and a communauté d'agglomération or several communes. The well funded museum is now completely renovated and in 2006 the new concept, the Musée de la Mine as a model in original size was opened to the public.

The tour into Wendel colliery starts with a ride on a miner train. Once inside the elevator is used, it goes down with a speed of 12m/s for some two minutes. Now the visitors have reached the working level of the mine, with working machines and the sound of the miners. The tour shows three different types of mining, the exploitation en plateures (lying mining), semi-dressants (half elevated mining), and dressant (upside down mining). Actually this means the mining is following the dipping coal seams The coal is descending into a syncline and so the miners followed the dipping coal measure. They were mining using gravity as much as possible, so if they scrached the coal from the ceiling it was falling down effortlessly onto the conveyor belt below. A good reason to mine from the bottom up.

The museum was created inside the mine property, a collection of red boxes protruding in various angles. Actually am obstinate design, but the modern architecture is just showing the content. Inside the dipping buildings is the simulated mine, which shows dipping coal seams. The mine tour is completely simulated, as the original mine is inaccessible. After the mine was closed the pumps were turned off and so the mine is now filled with water. But the virtual mine is not only a very good replica, it is actually a sort of 3D movie, and visitor get glasses with polarized glas to see it in 3D. The sensory input is completed by temperature, humidity, and smell of a mine.