I have already told you about a visit to a silver mine in the Sainte-Marie aux Mines area, also called Val d’Argent. It was a caving visit to Tellure Park. I decided this time to test another type of visit with theASEPAM (Association Spéléologique pour l’Etude et la Protection des Anciennes Mines), which proposes the visit of 3 different mines: the Saint-Louis Eisenthür mine, Gabe Gottes and Saint-Barthélémy (only in summer for this one). The visit times vary from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the location.
I chose to discover the Saint-Louis mine during a 3-hour “walking tour”. What is a walking tour? Simply a visit of the mine including a short approach walk. Very nice to have the impression to follow the steps of the miners of the 16th century! The St. Louis mine was operated at that time, and only at that time. This means that all the work done inside was done manually, without the help of machines or explosives… A titanic work that the visit allows to fully appreciate.
After meeting at the Mining Heritage Center, we take the car for 5/10 minutes to reach our starting point. We then start the approach walk in the forest while our guide tells us about the life of the miners at that time. Very interesting, especially since this life is quite different from the life of coal miners that we all have more or less in mind. After a climb in the forest, we are at the entrance of the Saint-Louis mine. It is time to equip ourselves with boots, oilskins and helmets that we have been lent.
Then begins theexploration of the mine. It is impressive to pass through these narrow galleries entirely cut by hand…At a rate of 5cm per day and per miner approximately! Our guide teaches us a lot about the work of the miners and the exploitation of the mine. Two wooden machines have even been reconstructed by the association to allow visitors to better visualize the organization of the mine. Even if you have to bend over regularly to avoid hitting your head, the visit is not difficult: it’s like walking down a narrow corridor! There are only two small passages where you have to slip into a hole but it is not complicated. After 1 hour of wandering in the galleries, we are back in the open air. It remains to remove our equipment and to make the way of the return. It was a great visit!
- Exciting guided tour for the whole family
- Mine exploited in the 16th century only: we see it as it was!
- The fact that ASEPAM has scientists doing research brings a very interesting perspective to the visits
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My photos of the visit of the Saint-Louis mine with ASEPAM
Which mine visit should I choose?
It all depends on what you are looking for! Here are my recommendations:
- Want to discover a mine and its history: opt for a visit of the ASEPAM (more fun than the classic visit proposed at Tellure)
- Looking for a little more adventure: opt for a caving tour of the Tellurium Park
The price is 12€ per adult for the visit of the Saint-Louis Mine (about 3 hours in total).
You can find the ASEPAM mine visit calendar here.
ASEPAM organizes several events throughout the year, such as a historical reenactment, candlelight tours… Consult the calendar of upcoming events here.
The address of the meeting point is Center du Patrimoine Minier5 rue Kroeber Imlin 68160 Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines. You have to count:
- 43 km from Colmar (about 40 minutes)
- 70 km from Strasbourg (about 50 minutes)
- 85 km from Mulhouse (about 1 hour)
By public transport
You can watch on Vialsace.