Montceau Les Mines 219 @lesley Williamson HdMontceau Les Mines 219 @lesley Williamson Hd
©Montceau Les Mines 219 @lesley Williamson Hd|LESLEY WILLIAMSON

Mining towns

villages in the city

As you stroll through the streets of Montceau and the surrounding villages, you’re sure to have noticed these streets lined with identical houses of typical architecture. These are the old mining towns. Built as close as possible to the coal extraction shafts, they are scattered throughout the urban area and bear witness to the mining activity that has now come to an end. Even today, these neighborhoods have retained their village spirit. We invite you to discover them.

Chagot paternalism

To house an ever-growing working-class population, the Compagnie des Mines de Blanzy began building mining housing estates.

The first to see the light of day was the cité des Alouettes, comprising around 50 homes. Between 1852 and 1877, 400 new housing units were added, not only at Les Alouettes, but also in new districts: Cité du Bois du Verne and Cité du Magny. These housing estates were all located on the northwest bank of the canal, as close as possible to the shafts where the miners worked.

The houses consist of four or two adjoining units, each with its own garden. A chapel, a dispensary, a girls’ school and a boys’ school often completed the complex. At the beginning of the 20th century, other housing estates were built, such as La Saule in 1917.

Different houses

for different staff

Designed for employees, the Bel Air housing estate was built on the opposite bank of the canal, close to the city center. This choice can be seen as a desire to differentiate the different social classes within the company.

In the same way, housing for executives (engineers, directors, architects) stands out in the landscape for its more bourgeois appearance: slate roofs, wooded parkland, etc. These handsome homes can be seen in the background. These fine residences can be seen along the canal, not far from the old offices and administration building, but also in other, more outlying districts.

Villages in the city

Off-center from the rest of the city, the mining estates had a strong neighborhood spirit. This was reinforced by the arrival of foreign settlers. For example, the Gautherets housing estate (in the communes of Saint-Vallier and Sanvignes) was built in the 1920s, at a time when the mines were attracting a large Polish workforce.

Where to find

mining towns?

Practical information


Plusieurs quartiers répartis dans la ville, Montceau-les-Mines

See where the neighborhoods are located on the map opposite.

Pushing the adventure