Visit of the Ardoisières of the 7 feet

Location : Les ardoisières
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Presentation

Guided and commented tour of the slate factory workshop.
Morzine is best known for winter sports and the mountains, but it is also one of the last slate mining sites in France. The formation of the shale beds of Morzine dates back to the Jurassic period. The clayey marine deposits deposited at the bottom of the seas, forming superimposed layers, have undergone the movements of the earth's crust, the effects of pressure and heat thus transforming the clay into shale. This rock has the property of splitting into sheets.

The discovery of the rock and its properties dates back to the 10th century, but there is nothing written about this period. The first writing about Slates dates from 1734 and concerns the roofing of the Church of Morzine in Slate. The marketing of Slates dates from the end of the 18th century.

We began to exploit the cliff, first at the nose of the rock then in horizontal galleries following the shale bank. The extraction work consists of detaching blocks from the shale bed. These blocks were split into slabs and then transported outside to be cut into slates. At that time, explosives were used to detach the blocks. The miners worked from November to April, the rest of the year they worked in the fields and took care of the animals. This activity experienced an expansion around 1830. There were up to 70 exploited quarries employing 250 people. This activity represented an economic asset for the village.

But around 1930, the arrival of tourism and new roofing materials considerably slowed down this activity. In 1970, there were only 4 quarries in operation. Today, 4 Ardoisières are still in operation. Extraction methods have evolved a lot. The explosive is no longer used because it creates cracks in the bench and the extracted block, and generates a lot of loss.

Modern tools are now used to extract the blocks of shale.

The first technique used, from 1993 to 2012, was the diamond cable cutting technique, this technique consisted of cutting the blocks like a wire to cut butter. With this method, the work changed a lot, there was almost no loss, the work became less dangerous and faster.

Since 2013, the technique has further evolved with the implementation of a Haveuse cutting tool. This tool is equipped with an XXL arm with which the blocks are cut. The work is even faster, safer and the output higher.
Date(s)From 16/07 to 16/08/2024, every Tuesday and Friday.

Information

  • Event type :
    • Cultural
  • Villes :
    • Morzine
  • Cultural and artistic :
    • Guided tour
Office de Tourisme de Morzine
Phone : +33 4 50 74 72 72
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Location
Les ardoisières
565 route des Ardoisières
74110
Morzine
  • Spoken language(s) :
    • French