Troglodytes & Sarcophages

La Cave aux Sarcophages


Useful Information

Location: Doué-la-Fontaine
Open: MAY Sat, Sun, Hol 14-19.
JUN to mid-SEP daily 14-19.
mid-SEP to APR after appointment for groups.
[2007]
Fee: Adults EUR 4.30, Children (6-11) EUR 2.80.
Groups (3-6): per group EUR 24.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 3.90, Children (6-11) EUR 2.50.
Groups (50+): Adults EUR 3.50, Children (6-11) EUR 2.20.
[2007]
Classification: SubterraneaCatacomb SubterraneaUnderground City
Light: electric
Dimension: Ar=11,000m².
Guided tours: Ar=1,500m².
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Troglodytes & Sarcophages, 1 rue de la Croix Mordret, 49700 Doué-la-Fontaine, Tel: +33-677-770694, Tel: +33-241-592495. 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.

History

5th cty sarcophagus production started.
6th cty end of sarcophagus production.
9th cty area raided by the Normans.
13th cty chapel built.
~1850 extraction of stones for buildings.
1986 sarcophagus quarry discovered by Michel Cousin.
1989-1996 archaeologic excavation.
1997 opened to the public.

Description

The site Troglodytes & Sarcophages (cave dwellers and sarcophagi) shows two different systems of caverns of completely different origin.

The older part is the carrière mérovingienne de la Seigneurie (Merovingian quarry of the seigniory). It contains sarcophagi from the 5th and 6th century, in various stages of completion. This was the place where the local Frankish aristocracy got their sarcophagi from, when the area was part of the Merovingian kingdom (481-751). The owners tell that this is the oldest underground structure of the Anjou, probably because there are no Roman quarries like in the Champagne. This uniqueness is the reason why this site is inscribed in the inventaire des monuments historiques (inventory of historic monuments).

The second part was added during the 9th century, when the area was raided by normans. The underground quarries were used as a hideout, fortified against the intruders and equipped for the necessities of daily life. From this time on the cave were almost continually inhabited over the centuries. In the 13th century there was even a chapel built underground.