Coal and iron have made Alès one of the country’s leading steelmaking centres. Indissociable from the history of the Cévennes, the memory of the mines is kept alive in the coal mining areas around Alès. Visit Alès to explore the last remains of this past thanks to the town’s carefully preserved industrial heritage. Coal extraction methods, which were for a long time family-based and small-scale, changed rapidly when the king gave Pierre-François Tuboeuf exclusive rights to the mines in the entire Basses-Cévennes region. His new techniques were very effective and made it possible to sink deeper shafts thanks to sophisticated ventilation and drainage systems.