la Cour, 85240 Faymoreau.
FEB to JUN Wed-Sun 14-18:30.
JUL to AUG daily 10-19.
SEP to NOV Wed-Sun 14-18:30.
Museum and village:
Adults EUR 10, Children (0-17) free, Students EUR 7.50, Unemployed EUR 7.50, Disabled EUR 7.50, Military EUR 7.50.
Museum: Adults EUR 7.50, Children (0-17) free, Students EUR 6, Unemployed EUR 6, Disabled EUR 6, Military EUR 6.
Temporary exhibition: Adults EUR 4, Children (0-17) free, Students EUR 3, Unemployed EUR 3, Disabled EUR 3, Military EUR 3.
|Coal Mine Mining Museum Replica Underground Mine
|Incandescent Electric Light System
|Centre Minier de Faymoreau, la Cour, 85240 Faymoreau, Tel: +33-251-00-48-48. 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.
|coal discovered by a clog maker named Jonh Aubineau in Marillet, near Faymoreau, while digging a well near his house.
|glass factory created using the coal for producing bottles.
|Société des Mines de Faymoreau builds the first houses for miners and their families.
|opening of the railway.
|glass factory closed, production of coal dropped to less than 20,000 t.
|towns electrified with the Faymoreau power plant.
|power plant closed.
|the Municipal Council of Faymoreau decides to launch a major tourist and cultural project, in order to revive and develop the town.
|“Hôtel des Mines” restaurant renovated.
|museum in the former dormitory of glassmakers opened to the public.
|chemin de la mine (mine trail) opened.
|museum closed for renovation.
|new museum opened to the public.
The Faymoreau coal basin (Vouvant coal basin) is located between the commune of Vouvant, Faymoreau and neighboring communes in Vendée. It was mainly formed during the Stéphanian (307 to 299 Ma) with coal seams between 0.4 and 2 m. There are no continuous seams, they are actually like a chain with numerous sterile passages or “crains”.
The coal seams were probably discovered in Puyrinsens commune of Antigny around 1775 by a man named Delavau, as his daughter claimed. The official discovery was in the 1820s by Ignace Dobrée, general counselor and mayor of Chassenon. The 1820s were a time of a small coal "rush" in this area and numerous concessions were granted. The Faymoreau concession established in 1831 had an area of 4.62 km², and the quality of the coal was quite good and the production large. It was considered one of the two richest and most interesting concessions. Nevertheless, the coal deposits were quite small compared to other coal areas of France, and the overall quality of the coal was not very good, somewhere between lignite and hard coal. It was not suitable for furnaces and was mainly used for ovens and later for the production of electricity.
The Centre Minier de Faymoreau (Faymoreau Mining Centre) is a rather new museum about the mining history of the miner town Faymoreau. The coal was discovered by a clog maker named Jonh Aubineau in Marillet, near Faymoreau, while digging a well near his house in 1827. Soon mining started, but the coal was of low quality and its use was restricted. It was used to heat tile works, brickworks, lime kilns, and a glass factory which was opened in 1836. It produced during its existence about a million bottles for the Cognac and Bordeaux regions, also jars and garden bells. The opening of the railway in 1869 was of great importance, because it allowed transporting the coal to the customers, and it also was a customer for the coal. The Angers–Niort line crosses the entire Faymoreau mining basin and allowed to open up new mines.
A boost in production was caused by the electrification of the Sud-Vendée, Deux-Sèvres and the north of Charente-Maritime. The electricity was produced with the local coal in the Faymoreau power plant. This was the time with the highest production, the heyday of the coal mine with more than 1,000 inhabitants at Faymoreau. Foreign labor flowed in from all over Europe, but mainly from Poland. But this era was only short, in 1950 the coal began to run out and the power plant was closed. The mine was finally closed in 1958. The miner town, which was based solely on the mine, ceased to exist.
The town Faymoreau was actually created by the Société des Mines de Faymoreau, who built houses close to the mine for their workers. There was no village before and afterward, the houses were rather basic and intended to provide a home to the workers and their families. The settlement was structured into districts by the jobs of the workers, glassmakers, families of miners, management, traders, foremen, and singles, each had their own section. The houses are typically terraced houses. There is a 1-hour walk through the miner's town with an audioguide, which includes the stained-glass windows created by the artist Carmelo Zagari. They are in the Chapelle Des Mineurs (Miners' Chapel), which was also built by the mining company, and was private property. They donated it to the Bishopric when the mine was closed, which sold it to the town in 1998, so it was included in the renovation. The artist is the son of a miner, and the motives of the glass windows are mining related.
The so-called chevalement d’Epagne (Épagne Headframe) at Saint-Maurice-des-Noues. The coal mining here started in 1847, and ended in 1925, but the mine was closed several times during this period. When the mine was reopened in 1947, the wooden headframe was replaced by a 25-meter-high headframe made of reinforced concrete. But it was actually never used, because the mine had not enough coal and actually never produced coal. There is a parking lot, a picnic area, toilets, and explanatory signs.
There is a mining museum, the town is renovated, and there is the headframe Chevalement d’Épagne in the nearby village St Maurice des Noues. This is all a result of the Municipal Council of Faymoreau decision to launch a major tourist and cultural project, in order to revive and develop the town. Since 1995, numerous sites were renovated and reopened. One of them was the “Hôtel des Mines” restaurant. Also, the museum was created in 2002, and in 2018 it was modernized and extended. The village is an exhibition on the local mining history, but it has no actual mining remains.
Today there are actually four things you can visit. Only the museum has open hours and an entrance fee, but for a small additional fee there are audioguides for the walk through the village and the stained-glass windows..