A little history

A territory - an ore - men

Between the end of the nineteenth century and the 1980s, the Var was the principal deposit of French bauxite and held the role of world leader for several decades.

A basic aluminum mineral, bauxite becomes the gold of Provence and is mined underground or in underground mines.

The Museum of Gueules Rouges traces the history of this mining activity, an industry that has strongly marked and shaped the territory. It also tells the story of these men, who worked under trying conditions and returned home covered with red dust of bauxite, which earned them the nickname "Gueules Rouges". Through an extensive collection of archival objects and documents, enter the world of bauxite and immerse yourself in the life of miners.

Bauxite: aluminum ore

The Museum of Gueules Rouges is also a scientific and technical museum. Through its collections and the various multimedia media, it presents the geological genesis of bauxite but also the industrial processes of transformation of this ore into alumina and then aluminum. Finally, it highlights the multiple sectors of contemporary use of this metal (transport, architecture, design, sport ...) through an original presentation of aluminum objects. By browsing the showrooms, bauxite and aluminum will no longer have secrets for you!

The Association of Gueules Rouges of the Var

The association Les Gueules Rouges du Var is made up of enthusiasts of industrial vestiges and the memory of the mines of bauxite varoises. This association Law 1901 aims to:

  • The preservation and diffusion of the collective memory of Gueules Rouges du Var
  • Conservation of the industrial and mining heritage of the exploitation of bauxite    
  • The assembly of any industrial tourism project, any activity of a cultural nature, ensuring the transmission of inheritances, uses, notable facts, lifestyles and work, techniques ... in connection with the exploitation of the Bauxite and the resulting products.


A memory to make live and transmit

The association's volunteers actively participated in the creation of the museum. They first worked to collect hundreds of objects, tools and tools, testimonies of the mining activity and which today make up the collections of the museum. These enthusiasts are also the designers of the gallery, a museographic space reconstituting an underground mine and the various posts and trades that compose it. They also provide daily technical and scientific support for the development of activities and visiting materials.

I worked for 15 years on the project of the museum, which has experienced many adventures. But the volunteers did not let go, first because we wanted to honor our duty to remember thousands of miners and 100 years of exploitation. Secondly, because we defend a tourism of discovery not to forget what has shaped the life and economy of an entire region. My dream is that every child in the Comté de Provence knows that mine is the story of his ancestors as well as that of the objects of his daily life.

Testimony of Maurice Constans,
President of the Association of Gueules Rouges du Var