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
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.