La Cité Souterraine de Naours

The Underground City of Naours - Mouches - Grottes de Naours

Useful Information

Location: At Naours, 15 km from Doullens and 18 km from Amiens. Some 55 km southwest of Arras.
(50.03431382210284, 2.280861216536015)
Open: FEB to MAR Tue-Sun 11-16:30.
MAY to AUG daily 10-18:30.
OCT to NOV Tue-Sun 11-16:30.
Last entry 90 min before closure.
Closed 01-MAY.
Fee: Adults EUR 10, Children (5-12) EUR 7, Children (0-4) free, Students EUR 9, Unemployed EUR 9, Disabled EUR 9, Families (2+2) EUR 30.
Groups (25+): Adults EUR 8, Children (5-12) EUR 6.
Classification: SubterraneaUnderground City
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=3,000 m, VR=33 m, T=9.5 °C.
Guided tours: self guided wit audioguide Français - French English Nederlands - Dutch Deutsch - German
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: La cité souterraine de Naours, 5, rue des Carrières, 80260 Naours, Tel: +33-322-937178. 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.


3rd century first excavations.
1618-48 longest continuous occupation of the caves during the 30 Years War.
1750-1830 used by salt smugglers.
1887 rediscovered by Abbot Danicourt, the village priest.
World War I occupied by the allied forces, mainly Australians.
1939 the British stocked fuel reserves in the caves.
1941 the Germans turned the caves into ammunition dumps and lived there.
1942 the German headquarters was set up here.
1943 became a key base and part of the Atlantikwall.
1944 the Germans left.
1949 opened to the public by Mr Raymond Martin.


Die unterirdischen Zufluchtsstätten von Naours. From Franz Kraus, Höhlenkunde, 1894

La Cité Souterraine de Naours is situated between Amiens and Doullens, some 35 miles south of Arras.

It is a real city situated 33 meters under the ground below the town of Naours. It is the largest underground structure in Picardy and is a well know show mine.

Since the 3rd century, men have dug beneath the chalky plateau to protect themselves through times of invasions. They developed a network of galleries and long hiding places of three kilometers. A real underground city thus spread, formed of 26 galleries and 300 rooms that could shelter 3000 people and the livestock of the village. One finds in it the public rooms, stalls, wells and chimneys as well as a chapel.

As at Bouzincourt, smoke from fires in the refuges, were carefully routed through to the surface via cottages.

During the First World War, allies occupied the underground caves, and one finds on the walls graffiti from the Australians that stayed in it. In WW2 the German High Command making use of the tunnels as their H.Q. that lived there and installed their station of command during the years 1942 to 1944.

A good restaurant can be found on site, and a bouncing castle. Something to please everybody.

Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.

The visit to the underground city La Cité Souterraine de Naours is self guided with audioguides. The tour includes the new Centre d'interprétation des Soldats Voyageurs (Travelling Soldiers Interpretation Centre), the Musée des vieux métiers (Museum of Old Crafts), and the underground quarries. There is electric light underground, but it is recommended to bring a torch nevertheless. The quarries were cut into the chalk under the forrest. Originally they were not intended as hideouts, but at least during the 30 Years War the became quite important for the locals. The area was in the middle between the fighting parties, sinde the Medieval Wars to the World Wars of the 20th century. So the locals not only transformed the quarries into an underground city for 3,000 inhabitants, they also camouflaged it. The entrances were hidden in farm houses and a windmill, chimneys were constructed so the smoke was diffused and could not be discovered on the surface by the enemies.