Musée des Mines d'Argent des Rois Francs

Useful Information

Location: Rue pré du Gué, 79500 Melle.
(46.216914, -0.147919)
Open: APR to mid-JUN Mon-Fri 15, Sat, Sun, Hol 14:30, 16:30.
Mid-JUN to AUG daily 10:30, 14:15, 15, 15:45, 16:30.
SEP to mid-NOV Mon-Fri 15, Sat, Sun, Hol 14:30, 16:30.
Online booking recommended.
Fee: Adults EUR 9, Children (6-18) EUR 4.50, Children (0-5) free.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 7.50, Children (6-18) EUR 4.
Classification: MineSilver Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=13 °C.
Guided tours: D=90 min. Français - French
Accessibility: partly
Address: Musée des Mines d'Argent des Rois Francs, Rue pré du Gué, BP 50029, 79500 Melle, Tel: +33-549-291954, Fax : +33-549-291664. E-mail: contact
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.


602 start of mining.
768 opening of the mint.
995 end of mining.
1189 mint closed.


The local ores contain silver galena, a combination of silver and lead.


Musée des Mines d'Argent des Rois Francs is dedicated to the silver mining history in the area around Melle. As the name says, the silver was mined primarily by the French kings to produce money. There was a mint on location which continued for some time after the mine was closed. This is a very early mining area, which had its heydays during the early Middle Ages, during Carolingian times. It is said to be the oldest silver mine in Europe.

The site offers a mining museum with an underground tour. The mine is quite ancient, so the passages are rather small and the tools and lamps quite simple. The site concentrates on early mining technologies, minting, and experimental archaeology. There are numerous interesting events during summer where silver ore is melted and minted with the original Carolingian techniques. There is also a Carolingian garden and a 3D movie explaning the entire chain of operations from the extraction to metallurgy of lead and silver during the High Middle Ages.