The stone of Bourg, a noble materialIt served the construction of the monuments of the canton but also those of big cities such as Bordeaux.
The use of the soft stone and the limestone of the region goes back up to the Roman period. It was taken directly on the spot, in the basement. It is the origin of the quarries of Le Bourgeais. Even if since, its exploitation was constant, the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries marked the peak of its extraction.Stored outdoors, this material was transported by cartages towards the coastal ports, then forwarded to other places. Our ancestors widely exploited it for the construction of the city of Bordeaux as we can see it with the facade of quays, church St Michel or the cathedral St André today.
This activity declined at the beginning of the XXth century, the inhabitants used these quarries for the culture of mushrooms. Indeed, after the war of 1870, an ancient foreman of the quarries had the idea to try to cultivate mushrooms in abandoned quarries. This example was imitated and culture spread in Le Bourgeais. After many failures due to amateurism, the success came. From St Laurent d'Arce to Gauriac, at the beginning of the XXth century, 750 people cultivated mushrooms. Each of them was paid 3 francs a day and, in normal culture, produced 100kg of mushrooms. Nowadays, this king of culture does not exist any more and only a company, based in Prignac and Marcamps, still practises the extraction of stone. You can see there one our open-air quarries. All of them have big networks of subterranean galleries, displayed over 2 or 3 floors (called also " clottes "). Along the estuary, on the ledge road, galleries were transformed into troglodytic houses. In certain periods of the year, guided tours are organized to discover them.
From this stone of Le Bourgeais were born severous more or less important buildings. Individual houses built with stone are very common here, like our Romanesque churches, our washhouses or our wells. All of them have this fair color stemming from stones of Le Bourgeais. Become an explorer and go to discover them with our audio-guided routes!