Le Musée du Champignon

Useful Information

Location: Northwest of Saumur, at the suburb St Hilaire St Florent
Open: 03-FEB to 11-NOV daily 10-19.
Fee: Adults EUR 7.30, Children (6-18) EUR 5.50, Children (0-5) free, Students EUR 6.
Groups (25+): Adults EUR 6, Children (6-18) EUR 5.
Combi Ticket Pierre et Lumière + Musée du Champignon:
Adults EUR 12, Children (6-18) EUR 9, Students EUR 10.
Groups (25+): Adults EUR 10, Children (6-18) EUR 8.
Classification: SubterraneaRock Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: D=60 min.
Guided tours:
Address: Le Musée du Champignon, St Hilaire St Florent, 49400 Saumur, Tel: 0241-503155, Fax: 0241-506194.
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.


1978 museum founded.
1998 museum of wild mushrooms opened.


The Musée du Champignon (Mushroom Museum) is dedicated to the growing of mushrooms in the numerous cellars along the Loire. Actually the climate and temperature in the caves is ideal, so growing mushrooms does not require any energy. On the other hand the caves are vulnerable to diseases like mold, especially as the mushrooms are grown in a monoculture. So many mushroom caves are abandoned today, mushrooms are grown above ground in huge halls, with artificial climate control. The museum is dedicated to the history of mushroom growing, the techniques, and the caves.

The mushroom museum also shows info on all kinds of fungi, which are artificially grown. The most common is called champignon de couche (Agaricus bisporus), the white or light brown mushroom which is generally called "mushroom" in English. It seems English people do not actually realise that there is more than one kind of mushrooms. The French even have a second name for this important mushroom: champignon de Paris. About 70% of the french production, some 500 tons per day, come from Saumur.

The production process is simple. On the surface compost is made and brought into the cave. The compost is put into molds, crates, or bags, originally of wood or iron, but today mostly of plastic. Before transported into the cave the compost is pasteurised to kill any microorganisms which could harm the mushroom. Then the compost is seeded with mushroom spores, or actually mycelium which was grown in a laboratory. Inside th cave the mycelium grows for about two weeks, then the compost is covered with a layer of "terre de gobetage", a mixture of crushed stone, tufa and peat. This is essential for the growth of the mushrooms from the mycelium, which is called sporulation. The growth of mushrooms happens in series, over a period of two months mushrooms will appear five times for three days. After that, the soil is exhausted, but it is still a good soil for gardening and sold as such. The caves are disinfected carefully before the next generation of mushrooms is grown.

Benath common mushrooms, many special fungi are grown. Shii-take is a fungus of Japanese origin, which is said to have healing powers, There are various kinds of oyster fungi, and one which is called pied bleu. There are virtually dozens of different mushrooms on display in the museum of wild mushrooms. It is a sort of zoo for mushrooms which are normally not cultivated. Some of them are edible, others are poisonous.

Part of the exhibition is a cave house, which was inhabited from the Middle Ages until 1952. Then there is a collection of weird mushroom objects, like an mushroom seat.

This site is affiliated with the Pierre et Lumière and there is a reduced combo ticket.