|Location:||Le Puy Notre Dame|
MAT to OCT daily 10-12, 14-18.
|Classification:||Rock Mine Factory|
|Guided tours:||L=500m, D=45min.|
|Address:||Cave vivante du champignon, Champignonnière St Maur, Monsieur Jacky Roulleau, 1 Rue du Château Sanziers, 49260 Le Puy Notre Dame, Tel: +33-241-522684, Cell: +33-681-173574, Fax: +33-241-388714. 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.
|16th cty||sart of limestone quarrying.|
|1938||end of limestone quarrying.|
|1950||Mr. Roulleau, the father of the current owner, starts to grow mushrooms.|
|1972||mushromm farm passed on to Mr. Jacky Roulleau.|
|1998||opened to the public.|
The cave vivante du champignon, owned by Jacky Roulleau, is a working producer of mushrooms. They produce and sell the partis mushroom, oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), pieds bleus (lépista nuda) and even shii-take (Lentinula edodes). A local specialty is champignon de brouillard (forest mushroom). The tour through the 16th century cellars shows the cultivation of the mushrooms, the life of the cave dwellers during the 19th century, the geology of the limestone rocks and some local history. But the tour is only a small part of the 18km long cellar system.
The small village Le Puy Notre Dame is underground much bigger than above ground: it has 120km of underground passages. Many of those passages are used for mushroom growing, others are used for wine aging. The village is one of the biggest producer of mushrooms in France, with some 60tons daily! The cellars started, typical for the area, as ancient underground limestone mines. When the mining ended at the beginning of the 20th century, the cellars were transformed into wine cellars or mushroom farms. The farmers of the village are very successful in growing mushrooms.
Growing mushrooms, especially in such huge mono cultures is very difficult. The probem is, that many mushrooms need specific conditions of temperature and humidity. But generally they are very close to the natural conditions of the cave. The industrial production of mushrooms create the ideal soil for mushrooms, earth for some, wood for others, makes them as easy to absorb as possible, fo example by using sawdust instead of wood. Then the substrate is pasteurized, as the biggest danger for the farm are deseases like mold. The substrate is then seeded with the spores of the fungus. For normal mushrooms, the soil is placed in huge wooden boxes, sometimes even in multiple layers. The wood for shii-take is packed into iron wires and finally resembles short logs. Othe mushrooms are cultivated in bags or in heaps on the floor.