Bex, Le Bouillet.
APR to OCT Tue-Sun 9:45, 11:15, 12:45, 15:45.
Adults CHF 18, Children (5-15) CHF 11, Children (0-4) free.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Dimension:||L=50,000 m, T=17 °C.|
Regular tour: D=105 min, L=500 m.
audioguides available in booklets available in
|Address:||Mines de Sel de Bex & Boutique, Rte des Mines de Sel 55, 1880 Bex, Tel: +41-24-463-03-30. 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.
|1826||brine reservoir excavated, which is today the exhibition hall.|
|2021||merger with Schweizer Salinen AG.|
A trip into the Mines de sel de Bex (Salt Mines of Bex) is a trip into the world of salt miners in 1684. This is the time when the underground mining was started. The tour starts with a multimedia show introducing visitors into the history of the mine. Then the mine is entered on a mine train. Inside the mine, some historic mine tunnels and shafts can be seen. There is also an underground museum.
The description below is almost 20 years old. At that time numerous special tours were offered, which where discontinued since. We guess there were just not enough bookings for so many complex tours. As the description nevertheless gives some background info on the mine we marked it but did not delete it. The raclette combo is still offered, but as it requires reservation anyway, you should check the details when you make the reservation. The mine offers only the standard tour and some additional features for groups. This might be a result of being sold to Schweizer Salinen, a group of Swiss salt mines. They operate three salt mines in Switzerland and produce primarily table salt, but also salt for the road. The tourist venue is only a part of their public relations.
More adventurous visitors can book a mine trekking tour. They will see interesting parts of the mine, which are not part of the show mine. The Alter Mann (old man), a miner term, means very old passages originating to the 17th century. They were built completely by hand, without the help of mining machinery.
Most trekking tours start at the Bouillet, where helmets are provided and a 15-minute audiovisual show on the history of the site is shown. Then a 20 minutes walk through the forest brings visitors to the Coulat level. Depending on the tour and the weather the mine may also be entered and/or left by train. A central part of all tours is the Grand Escalier, a staircase with 734 steps, and the exploitation levels of the 18th century named Coulat. Those parts are called de Graffenried, St. Louis, La Chambre des Cultes and La Chambre de la Roue.
Le Coulat is the base tour. Sainte Barbe tour includes a raclette, a traditional Swiss dish of melted cheese at the Taverne du Dessaloir (Hall of Festivities). Le Labyrinthe des Sources takes a little longer and includes a visit of the Trou du Milieu and the Labyrinthe des Sources. There is a pause for a snack in the Chambre de la Roue. Le 11ème tour shows the 11th floor and return through the galleries of Bon Espoir, the 4ème Côté (380 m), the and Chambre de la Roue. The Mine Adventure is the tour for bon vivants: a meal at the Taverne du Dessaloir includes an apéritif du mineur followed by raclette with onion salad. The dessert is the coupe mineur, sun dried grapes in eau-de-vie with vanilla ice cream. All participants get a Sel des Alpes souvenir bag.
The Maxime Roche tour shows different parts of the mine. At first some cars of the participants are parked at Fondement, where the mine is left later. Helmets are provided at the Saltworks of Bex at Bévieux and the mine is entered through La Barmaz gallery. This long tour includes a snack pause at the Chambre de la Roue. The Escalier Ruiné ascends to the Fondement. The mine is exited through the oldest galleries of the mine towards the Gryonne River. Here the saline spring is visited, the first one ever discovered. Its discovery in 1684 by Maxime Roche was the start of the salt mining at Bex.