There is a place is completely out of the ordinary where you and yours will be able to walk underground. The mine in Cap Garonne is a unique landmark above the Pradet – to discover with your family. Delve into this underground scene of treasure and history.
Set in a former copper mine, you will discover a site rich with history. After a walk on the botanic path with a view on the sea, the museum tour will give you an insight on the life of Provence miners during the 19th century.
Under the Colle Noire
Doesn’t “Colle Noire” mean “black glue” in French? Well, not in this context. The Colle Noire is a minor mountain range between Toulon and the Giens peninsula, and harbours the Cap Garonne mine. Currently owned by the coastal conservation society and managed by the Toulon area authorities in a sustainable manner, it is a precious patch of nature, overhanging the sea and boasting a panoramic view on the most beautiful bay in Europe. Before you enter the mine – or afterwards, if you prefer – don’t miss out on the waymarked circuit that will give you an informative tour of Mediterranean essences. This easy trail – well-loved by the locals – eagerly awaits newcomers and enthusiasts.
Explore the old mine
Cap Garonne mine hosted mining activities for nearly 70 years, triggered by a legend stating that a potter had found gold there in the early 17th century. It is now one of the five most beautiful mineralogical sites in the world. From the life of miners to the history of Pradet rock, visiting the former copper mines is a living lesson of times long passed, and is a fascinating adventure for young and old.
Perfect for your children
Your children will be delighted to climb into the mine. The mood is set as soon as you enter, you’ll feel a the rapid fall in temperature of a few degrees (bring warm clothes). Once the safety instructions are given, and the hard hats duly fastened, you will cross the gate to history and be plunged into the belly of the earth. Under the earth, there is magic indeed. You will start to picture miners and gold rush diggers. Models and representation of usual scenes from the times are there to help you in your journey through time.
Besides azurite and malachite, mineralogists have counted about fifty minerals associated with copper. From then on, the mine has been a French landmark for minerals. Before the gallery comes to an end, you go through the mineralogical museum where mineral samples are displayed, many of which were yielded by the mine itself. You’ll find your children picturing themselves as miners or copper smugglers by the time the tour ends. We can’t guarantee that the minerals for sale in the museum shop will be enough to quench their thirst for subterranean adventure! Too bad for any plans they had to become astronomers or football stars!
Marine, 9 years old (Lens – France)
It’s like a grotto, but with mannequins and displays. They were probably cold at the time, but if they found copper and gold they must have become rich.