The Mine of Cap Garonne in Le Pradet (Copper and Lead)
According to the scientists, this former copper and lead mine is on the top 5 of the mineralogical sites known so far, because of the wealth of its minerals. Authentic period documents, reconstituted scenes of life, and exhibited stones help the visitors to understand the work of the diggers at the 19th and 20th centuries as well as the secrets of crystals. A very popular site with 600 000 visitors/year, worth seeing!
The mine is located at the top of the hill of Cap Garonne in a beautiful Mediterranean site. It offers a breathtaking view over the sea, including the Golden Islands of Hyères and the Bay of Toulon. Hiking paths are available all around the site.
The Mine “des Gueules rouges” in Tourves (Bauxite)
This interactive museum with kiosk terminals offers a fun way to learn more about the bauxite exploitation, the Var department’s major industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The pure form of aluminium does not naturally occur in nature. It was largely unknown until as recently as 200 years ago: the visitors discover the former process that was used to turn bauxite into aluminium, and how this metal is still used nowadays.
Then, the guests put on their helmets for a guided tour through the underground tunnels of a reconstituted ancient mine, and experience the tough life of the workers.
WHAT TO DO:
Adventurous guided tour of an ancient mine to learn more about minerals, as well as the life of the diggers in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Cap Garonne: outstanding walks around the site + beautiful beaches close by (10 mins’ drive).
Tourves: beautiful walks in the “Gorge of Caramy”, along the river + Basilica of Saint-Maximin (10 mins’ drive)
Tip: please remember that it is quite cool in the mine (between 14° C and 16° C). Make sure to take warmer clothing even in summer.
Type of excursion
Type of public
Duration of the visit
½ day excursion
About 2-5 hours (depending on the formulas) + transportation