Welcome

Come and go through an unforgettable experience in the heart of a universe of stones and History.Come and meet the quarrymen who had been digging in the reigns of the great Frankish kings : Clovis,Dagobert, Louis the Pious.Come and discover a little-known aspect of French history at the time of the Merovingians and theirreligious rites by following the various stages of the manufacture of sarcophagi.Come and follow the steps of the archeologists who discovered this unique, fascinating site carved rightout of the sea of shell beds.You will be surprised to find out how, through the ages, men have managed to reuse this subterraneanspace for the last 1500 years : stone quarry, underground shelter, Middle Ages dwellings, storage silos,troglodytic chapel, wine-producing site…

History

This unique site in Europe, one among listed heritage sites, brings to light the astonishing roles of cavedwellings : the great underground shelter at the time of the Vikings ; the chapel ; the « cathedral » caves ;the troglodytic farm ; the wine cellar and the oven, not forgetting the prestigious quarry of Merovingiansarcophagi discovered by archeologists. You travel through 1500 years of history.During five years, an archeologist explored these caves. In about a hectare (around 2.500 acres), hebrought to light the presence of galleries that was to accommodate a sarcophagus manufacture in the 5thand 6th centuries. Production has been estimated at about 30.000 units.Then, after being used as a quarry, this underground world became a shelter in the 9th century during theViking invasions. In these shelter galleries we also find grain silos and original closing systems.The guided tour will take you along to a buried courtyard that was occupied in the Middle Ages. Humanpresence is quite visible there, with its pigeon lofts and its farm outbuildings carved out of the rocks.The troglodytic chapel, with its 12th century Romanesque arches and 13th century Gothic arches, isdecorated with sculptured niches, but it still remains a complete mystery.

Location

In the heart of Anjou and of the PNR (Natural Regional Park) of Anjou-Touraine, 10 miles away from theRiver Loire, a UNESCO world heritage site, Doué la Fontaine is a town proud of its rich and varied past.However, the town has developed an atypical and attractive image especially around its hidden,underground world, far beyond French borders.Subterranean Doué, as photographer Pascal Giraud calls it, is proud to have such troglodytic gems.Located in the oldest part of the town, Douces, Troglodytes et Sarcophages is one of them.Thanks to its connection with the « Loire à vélo » trail (the River Loire trail by bike), cyclcists can ride allthe way to Troglodytes et Sarcophages without any difficulty. Easy bicycle parking, sheltered picnic areaand toilets are facilities offered by our site.

Guided tours

All along the year, a guide will offer you guided tours about one-hour long. Visits start at different timesdepending on the season, please check timetables.Visitors wishing to tour the site at their own pace will be provided with a leaflet.Apart from these opening times, groups of at least 6 persons may book in advance by specialarrangement, depending on our availability.

A supplement may be required for special tours and entertainments. Please enquire.Our shop at the entrance will offer you all sorts of local produce, especially rose-based : syrups, liqueurs,soap bars, sweets… and also local wines, grape juice, biscuits…You will also find plenty of tourit information.

Accessibility

The site is accessible to all visitors of all ages, including young children in their prams.Disabled persons should take into account the access slope underground which is fitted with a handrail…Wheelchairs can go down with assistance. When underground, they can move about without anydifficulty.

AccessibilityNice pet dogs on a leash are welcome.

Parking

The main car park is just a few yards from the entrance. More parking places may also be found in thenearby streets.As for coaches and camper vans, one parking place is available 50 yards away along Rue de la Saulaie.Cyclists may take and padlock their bicycles in the garden.

Current timetables

In june:
Open tuesday to sunday (included)
from  3 pm to 5 pm

In july:

open monday to sunday: (1 to 9 of july): afernoon ; (10 to 31ofjuly): morning and afternoon

Admissions

Adults : 5,40€
Concessions (proof may be required) :

Children :  6-12 : 3,70€   Teenagers :  12-18 : 4,70€
Disabled persons :  4,70€   Unemployed :  4,70€

Troglodytes et Sarcophages

This unique site in Europe, one among listed heritage sites

 

Site registered in the inventory
of Historic Monuments

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