Through the use of dramatic lighting, florid masonry, and the oddly geometric scars of active quarrying, the Carrière d’Aubigny has been turned into an artful cathedral to the history of stonework.
Famous for providing stones for such famous buildings as the Paris Opera House and Town Hall, this French quarry no longer produces the limestone blocks it was once known for, but thanks to restoration and an eye towards the beauty of the caves, the mine has become a gallery of industrial beauty and stone-crafting history. Issuing out rocks until its closer in 1940, the space was reopened to visitors in 1992. The uneven grid patterns on the walls and ceilings that resulted from the quarrying were left intact and sweeping arches of limestone were added, accented by of decorative flourishes that have been carved right into the walls. There are also a number of the original tools on display which were used to mine the rock, as well as smaller stone crafts, illustrating the precision handiwork of the masons who worked the area.
The entire underground space is fabulously lit to allow the natural shadows of the quarry bring out the stonework detail. Visitors to the Carrière d’Aubigny might be surprised to see that the industrial space from which a number of Paris’ most beautiful buildings sprang is just as scenic as the products of its bounty.