Musée de la Mine Saint-Lon-les-Mines

Useful Information

Location: 84 route de la Payolle, 40300 Saint-Lon-les-Mines.
(43.6141972, -1.1269201)
Open: All year Mon-Fri 9-12, 13:45-15:30, Sat 8:30-12.
Individuals: contact the Post Office or the Municipal Library.
Groups: contact the Town Hall.
Fee: free.
Classification: MineCoal Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Musée de la Mine, 84 route de la Payolle, 40300 Saint-Lon-les-Mines, Tel: +33-558-57-80-53. 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.


1756 first coal mining lasted 15 months.
1771 first tunnel built under the “Lassalle ravine”.
1870 coal mined during the German-French War.
1914 coal mined during World War I.
1940 coal mined during World War II.
1949 mine closed.
2012 mining museum opened to the public.


Lignite is a very low quality coal, between peat and coal, with high amounts of sulfur, water, and other impurities. The deposit was formed during the Upper Cretaceous, some 100 Ma ago. The coalification was very low, despite the high age, due to the lack of temperature and pressure.


The Musée de la Mine (Mining Museum) has a very generic name and there are actually dozens of museums with the same name, so we added the name of the town, Saint-Lon-les-Mines, to make it unique. The small town Saint-Lon-les-Mines once had a mine named Mine de St-Lon, which was closed in 1949. It was mining a lignite deposit which was known since ancient times. It was mined on a very low scale by locals for personal use, local blacksmiths mined the coal they needed from the Lassalle ravine. The museum is dedicated to the history of this mine, shows documents, photographs, tools and machinery, and some minerals and lignite samples. There is also an exhibition on an Aurignacian lithic industry which were found in the vicinity. It has regular open hours, but actually it is closed, so if you want to visit the museum, just contact the post office or the municipal library, to get the key. Groups can make a reservation with the town hall. The visit is free, but we guess donations are always welcome. The museum is the work of local mining enthusiasts and very informative.

The lignite mining as a mining operation started in 1756, but this first operation lasted only 15 months. After Napoleon had changed the legal situation in 1895, a first concession of 361 ha was issued on 10-APR-1831. Again only for a short time. The history of the mine is a succession of short periods of exploitation and long periods of abandonment. Other times of short-lived operation were 1870, 1914, 1940, which are actually all times of war. The mine was also used as a hideout by refugees in such periods. In other words, the coal was mined only when other means of heating were restricted by the general situation. Nevertheless, the mayor Monsieur Bellegarde renamed the village Saint-Lon into Saint-Lon-les-Mines in 1918. And the last such period ended in 1949 after World War II, and the mining was never restarted. There were oil exploration attempts in the 1960s and 1980s without results. But finally a prefectural decree in 1981 canceled the concession.