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Les souterrains (the underground galleries)

From underground rooms, there are several departures to the galleries :
The "built" galleries, round-arch, connecting the different civil, religious or military edifices, as well as  the underground galleries "of escape", arriving after hundred metres after the walls. In case of siege of the town, the hidden exits permit to communicate with the surroundings.
The galleries from "stone-pit" were excavated to extract  materials as sand, clay... These galleries are following the veins so they are twisting, crossing and overlapping.
Most of the the medieval galleries are private so it is not possible to visit it.

 

An other type of gallery exists on two or three levels. They are shaping distinct islets which never communicate. These galleries are excavated into a good quality of limestone, which correspond to an ancestral lake area, around the "Ville-Basse".
They are egg-shaped and on the average from 1,30m until 1,45m wide and 1,90m high. Small cavities are orthogonally situated along the very long galleries.
It is impossible to set a date of mysterious creation, but it should be before the Middle-Ages. They have been in a sort "unify" by the underground rooms which are evidently more recent than galleries. Today these rooms are the access to galleries. Few details permit us to think that the rooms builders have ignored the underlying galleries. The original accesses are still not defined, perhaps shafts or chutes…



The original destination of the galleries is not explicated as its date of creation.
We can see in the galleries:
earth quarries: earth ("terre à foulon") used for the cleaning of the sheep wool. Nevertheless, it is not explain the rigorous lay-out and the sleek walls.
"store rooms":  the many small cavities have almost a place to receive bars to close it. So it constitute "store rooms" connected by walks. They should have been used during the the fairs of Champagne. But the ambient humidity should had not permitted a long storage for many ware.

Later these galleries have been used as clandestine meeting places owing to many ideological persecutions from the Middle-Ages until these days. The members of these societies becoming secret have let a mark printed in the limestone: graffiti, messages only decode by the initiates.

 

 

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Dernière modification : 09 August 2007