Underground Mills of Col-des-Roches
The underground mills of Col-des-Roches in Le Locle are the only mills of their kind in Europe that used to operate underground.
Parking next to the tourist office near the entrance of the mills.
The underground mills of Col-des-Roches are restored and opened to the public in 1987. Several paddle wheels turn with water now circulating in a closed circuit and give an idea of the hydraulic system of the time operating the mills.
The cave can be visited on a tour of about 30 minutes to 1 hour with an audio guide or a guided tour. You can see the work carried out by the millers to carve stairs and tunnels in the rock. Warm clothes are recommended as the temperature is only 7 degrees and the high humidity requires good shoes .
The underground mills of Col des Roches are built as early as the 16th century at the place where the river le Bied disappears in the rock to reappear in France in the Doubs valley. The underground waterfalls of le Bied were used to drive paddle wheels to operate mills, threshing machines, oil mills and sawmills.
In the middle of the 19th century, the mills gradually ceased to operate with the advent of technological innovations and a large building was built just above and took over the functions of mills and sawmill. At the beginning of the 20th century, the building became a slaughterhouse and the carcasses were thrown into the caves of the old mills.
Other restored mills
La Torpille visited four other mills in French-speaking or Western Switzerland.
Une vidéo sur le parcours dans la grotte des moulins souterrains.