The Phosphatières du Cloup d’Aural: journey to the center of the Earth

Located in the village of Bach (Lot), the Phosphatières du Cloup d’Aural are old mines from the end of the 19the century, but also a natural laboratory with lush vegetation.

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The Phosphatières du Cloup d’Aural are old mines from the end of the 19th century located in Bach in the Lot. Credit: CC BY SA – Thérèse Gaigé

It’s a timeless place. In the Lot and more precisely in Bach, are the Phosphatières du Cloup d’Aural. This is’old mines from the end of the 19th centurye century. These deep cavities had been dug into the limestone rock to phosphate mining. This exploitation allowed the discovery of more than 600 species of fossils, including a caducothera, a mammal similar to a rhinoceros. This site is also a natural laboratory with lush vegetationlocated in the heart of the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park.

A journey to the heart of more than 30 million years of history

The visit to the phosphatière is only accessible by guided tour for security reasons. However, in addition to the guided tour, you have access to a free visit on the thematic trails (Phosphate, Geological Time, Flora, Paleontology and Animals of the Past), which are easily accessible and on the surface. Young and old will then be able to slip into the shoes of a paleontologist looking for fossil casts in the sand or try a treasure huntFor example.

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If 2/3 of the guided tour takes place on the surface, a staircase of 150 steps allows you to access the interior of the phosphate mines. Here, the flora has taken possession of the place. Giant ferns and jumbles of trees await you at the start of the route. The vegetation then becomes tropicalized when we go up to 20 meters underground., in this open-air cave. The passionate guides will also teach you more about the animals and plants that lived in the Cloup d’Aural Phosphatières more than thirty million years ago

Practical information: Phosphatières du Cloup d’Aural in Bach
Open from April to November
Prices: €11 for adults, €10 for reduced rates, €7 for children aged 5 to 14 and free for children aged 4 or under
More information and possibility of reservation on the establishment’s website

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