Musée de l'ardoise de Fumay

Musée de l’ardoise Michel Paradon

Useful Information

Location: 3 Rue Martin Coupaye, 08170 Fumay.
(49.995191, 4.706905)
Open: All year Mon-Tue 14-18, Wed 10-12, Thu-Fri 14-18, Sat 10-12, Sun 14-18.
Fee: free.
Classification: MineSlate Mine SubterraneaMining Museum SubterraneaReplica Underground Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography: Maya Bennani (): Ardoisière du Moulin Sainte-Anne, Architecture work file IA08000409. online Français - French
Address: Musée de l'ardoise de Fumay, 3 Rue Martin Coupaye, 08170 Fumay, Tel: +33-324-41-10-34, Fax: +33-324-41-26-90. 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.
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12th century oldest written mention of slate mining.
1222 Moulin Sainte-Anne slate quarry first mentioned.
1466 corporation des Mineurs Escailleurs founded to protect the local miners from foreign competition.
17th century heydays with about 20 slate quarries.
18th century decline of slate mining, only Sainte-Anne, Saint-Joseph, and les Trépassés quarries remain open.
1790 Saint-Joseph and les Trépassés quarries close.
1835 slate mining booms, quarries are reopened.
late 19th century slate mining reduced, a drop in production and a reduction in workforce.
1931 end of sales to England causes the cessation of all activity in the slate basin of Fumay and Haybes.
31-OCT-1971 last slate quarries in the Fumay-Haybes-Oignies basin closed.
198? museum created under the patronage of Michel Paradon, president of the FJEP.
1994 exhibition modernized.
2001 after the death of Michel Paradon museum renamed Musée de l’ardoise Michel Paradon.
201? museum closed for renovation.
2023 museum reopened in the Espace Culturel des Carmélites.



Musée de l'ardoise de Fumay (Fumay Slate Museum) is also known as Musée de l’ardoise Michel Paradon (Michel Paradon Slate Museum). It is located at the village Fumay, and Michel Paradon was one of the main forces to create the museum in the first hand. The museum was opened in 198? and modernized in 1994. Around 201?, the museum was closed for a major renovation of the exhibition, a project that was slowed down by the pandemic. At least that's what they officially say, we don't understand it either. It was reopened as a part of the Espace Culturel des Carmélites, more exact the library. This is located inside the former Carmelite convent, which was founded in July 1630 by Magdeleine d'Egmont, Princess of Chimay.

This is a small museum about the local slate mining history. The exhibition is rather small, but as it is located in the public library, it is open daily, which is a big pro. Also, there is a sort of replica mine, a vaulted cellar was used to recreate the working conditions of the slate miners, which worked much better than expected.

Fumay is located in the tip of Givet, a finger-like protrusion of France into Belgium, which ends at the city Givet, hence the name. The area belongs geologically to the Ardennes, a rump orogeny which is mostly composed of slated and other metamorphic rocks. The slate was mined until the early 1970s, when it became unprofitable. According to local lore, the slate was mined below the city, which as a result sagged. But no one ever dared to dig under the church, which means that it is higher than the surrounding buildings today.

The city is located on the peninsula of a meander spur of the Meuse river. The base rock is the slate which was mined, and when you take a stroll through the village, you can see huge mounds of slate waste, the fouégés. The scailleteux (slate miners) left those heaps as a side effect of the exploitation of the slate quarries.

The profitability always changed over time. In the 12th century mining started for personal use, later it was sold and foreign miners came to town, which resulted in the formation of the corporation des Mineurs Escailleurs. The idea was to allow only local miners. The mining declined in the mid-18th century and revived in the mid-19th century. In the 20th century, better transport infrastructure made the local slate unprofitable, but after each war the demand exploded for some time, for the necessary repair works. But 1955 marked the final decline, and after some unprofitable years extraction finally ceased in 1971.