The former Couriot coal mine in St Etienne was converted into a museum in 1991 though the facilities have been expanded more recently to include three special exhibition galleries. The former mine closed in 1973 and was the last one to operate in the city.
Above ground, the former miners' baths, lamp room, maintenance workshops and plant rooms can be visited. There is also an interesting visit to underground galleries although in truth these are reconstructions just beneath the surface as the original workings are flooded. The access to the underground section is through an authentic miners' cage, with the impression of a deep descent being made by the walls of the shaft whizzing past on a continuous roller and high powered fan.
One unusual feature of the museum, which is set in what is now a pleasant park, is a World War I war memorial which features sculptures of both a soldier and a miner, emphasising the importance of the coal industry during the war.