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⚙️ Underground Mills of Col-des-Roches

Address
Col 23, 2400 Le Locle
Phone 1
Keyword
2017 Aug, 2017 May
  • Date de Visite
    13.05.2017
  • GPS
    47.04907 6.72209

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.

A path inside the underground site.
A path inside the underground site.

Weather


Access


Parking next to the tourist office near the entrance of the mills.

Visit


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.

A paddle wheel driving a mill.
A paddle wheel driving a mill.

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 .

A view of a cavity with the path over metal footbridges on the underground site.
A view of a cavity with the path over metal footbridges on the underground site.

Mills history


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.

A narrow passage carved into the rock.
A narrow passage carved into the rock.

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.

The building used as the entrance to the underground mills of Col-des-Roches.
The building used as the entrance to the underground mills of Col-des-Roches.

Other restored mills


La Torpille visited four other mills in French-speaking or Western Switzerland.

Video


Une vidéo sur le parcours dans la grotte des moulins souterrains.

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Activités dans le canton de Neuchâtel

Old mills in Western Switzerland

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