Champignons©Nicolas Van Ingen


The “champignon de Paris” (white mushroom) has made its way from the Paris catacombs to the humid troglodytic caves of the Loire valley. It is a lighthouse product of the Park territory. Its production has been industrialised, but there are still some traditional farms and tourist sites where you ca

Show all

From the catacombs of Paris to the troglodytic caves of Saumur

The cultivation of mushrooms first develops in the underground of the French capital. But it becomes an obstacle to the construction of the subway: so, at the end of the 19th century, the production is delocalised to the Loire valley. This was the time when the tufa mining started to decline, leaving many kilometres of underground galleries unexploited.

At a constant temperature between 12 and 14 °C and a high level of humidity, these troglodytic caves offer the best conditions for the development of mushroom farms. By chance, the Calvary School of Saumur is close and supplies the farmers with fresh dung which is used to produce the substrate.

Laurence Laboutière, productrice de champignons à Montsoreau

A little history of mushrooms

In the dark galleries, the mushrooms are hand-picked by farm workers. But in the second half of the 20th century, the mushroom cultures are modernised and abandon the “troglos” (troglodytic caves) to find a new bed in large hangars. The production is industrialised.

Today, only fresh mushrooms are still hand-picked. The picking for products such as canned food is machine driven.

The competition coming from Poland, the Netherlands and China is fierce and accelerates the disappearance of most of the small farms for the benefit of big holdings. For instance, France Champignon, the biggest national producer has its head office in Saumur.


Culture des champignons - Entreprise Champi Bio à Chacé©Nicolas Van Ingen
Culture des champignons - Entreprise Champi Bio à Chacé©Nicolas Van Ingen

Visit the mushroom farms around Saumur

There are only a few mushroom farmers left who still work in the underground galleries. They supply restaurants and grocery stores specialised in white mushrooms, and also oyster mushrooms, blewits and shiitake mushrooms. You can buy their products on the farm or on local markets.

And while you are there, don’t forget to try another local speciality: the “galipettes” (somersault), big white mushrooms stuffed with cheese, potted meat, andouille, etc. Where does this name come from? You will have to visit the museums and caves of the territory to find it out: the mushroom museum in Saumur , the mushroom farm Saut aux Loups in Montsoreau or the Living Mushroom Cave in Puy-Notre-Dame. You will learn all about mushroom beds, their functioning and their history in the region.

Vous aimerez aussi
Pêche au filet barrage©Nicolas Van Ingen
Agriculture On the water

The Loire-Anjou-Touraine Park with its many streams is a fisherman’s paradise! Amateurs and professionals practice angling, gear and net fishing. And...

Agriculture Unusual

Thanks to rich soils and a mild climate, the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Park territory is most suitable for agricultural activities. Certain productions...

Champ de chanvre en Loire-Authion ©Nicolas Van Ingen

Agriculture in the Authion valley is based on an intense production with international success: seeds. Modern companies are on the forefront of these...

Les plus consultés

Parc naturel régional Loire-Anjou-Touraine

La chapelle troglodytique Sainte-Radegonde est un lieu emblématique du coteau de Chinon, ponctué d'un grand nombre de caves demeurantes habitées jusqu...

Guided tour Rivers

Croisières Saumur Loire

Take advantage of an initiation to oenology with the wise advice of a speaker from the Robert & Marcel cellars. Come and meet the Saumur landscapes...

05 Jun. 2021 - 28 Aug. 2021
Guided tour Rivers

Croisières Saumur Loire

This great cruise will take you to the heart of the wild Loire to admire the nature and fauna of the Loire at its best. With the help of binoculars...