• France edition
 
Louvre satellite opens amid slag heaps
View of one of the buildings at the Louvre-Lens (Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP)

Louvre satellite opens amid slag heaps

Published: 04 Dec 2012 14:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Dec 2012 14:14 GMT+01:00

The Louvre museum opened a new satellite branch among the slag heaps of a former mining town on Tuesday in a bid to bring high culture and visitors to one of France's poorest areas.

Greeted by a group of former miners in overalls and hardhats, President François Hollande inaugurated the Japanese-designed glass and
polished-aluminium branch of the Louvre in the northern city of Lens.

Officials hope the museum, set to host masterpieces by Delacroix and Raphael for its first year, will help revive a region blighted by the closure of its last coal mines 20 years ago and with unemployment at a stubbornly high 16 percent.

"We know that a museum does not bring spring," regional council chief Daniel Percheron said.

"But it is a sign at least of the end of winter."

Just one hour by train from Paris, the Louvre-Lens hopes to attract 700,000 visitors for its first year, and half a million per year after that, compared to nine million annual visitors for the Louvre itself.

The 150-million-euro ($196-million) project was 60 percent financed by regional authorities in the Nord-Pas-De-Calais region, on the English Channel and the border with Belgium.

The museum's five sober buildings were intended by Japanese architectural firm Sanaa to blend into the former industrial site, with the rail tracks that once linked its pits turned into access roads.

From within its giant glass cube entrance hall, visitors can see the enormous slag heaps at Loos-en-Gohelle, the largest in Europe.
 
For its first five years, the museum's central gallery will showcase 200 works spanning from Antiquity to 1850.

The museum will open its doors to the public for the first time on December 14th.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Listeria prompts smoked salmon recall in France
Listeria contamination prompts seafood recall. Photo: Screengrab/Fjord King

Listeria prompts smoked salmon recall in France

A French seafood company recalled on Wednesday three batches of smoked salmon because they were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria listeria, which can cause a serious infection in pregnant women and older people. READ () »

French town takes knife fight to president
Villagers have asked the French president to help them get their name back. Photo: Jose A. Torres/AFP

French town takes knife fight to president

Defiant residents of the French village of Laguiole - famous around the world for its knives - have appealed to their president to intervene on their behalf after they lost a trademark battle in court meaning they are barred from using its name on their own products. READ () »

French parents laidback about kids' education
French parents least stressed about their children's future, a new study finds. Photo: Pascal Pavani/AFP

French parents laidback about kids' education

When it comes to stressing about the education of their children French parents are much more relaxed than their counterparts in other countries, a global survey revealed this week. And they are dead against paying for it, it seems. READ () »

France unveils freeze on generous welfare system
Cuts are coming to France's social welfare system. Photo: Patrick Kovarick/AFP

France unveils freeze on generous welfare system

France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls provided his most detailed account yet on Wednesday of the “collective” cuts France will make to trim its budget by €50 billion, including a freeze on state pensions. The sick, families and pensioners will all feel the pain. READ () »

Pets to no longer be seen as just 'chairs' in France
Animals may soon be considered more than furniture in France. Photo: Danperry.com/Flickr

Pets to no longer be seen as just 'chairs' in France

France took a major step this week towards upping the legal status of animals, which presently sees them classed the same as a chair, a lamp or any old 'personal property'. But cats and dogs will soon be judged as “sentient, living beings”. The change wasn't welcomed by all. READ () »

France OKs first women aboard submarines
France will allow women aboard its nuclear-armed submarines. Photo: Defence Images/Flickr

France OKs first women aboard submarines

The last bastion of exclusively male jobs in the French military fell this week when the defence minister announced a pilot program to allow the first women to serve aboard nuclear-armed submarines. The minister also revealed an action plan to end sexual harassment in the armed forces. READ () »

France mulls plan to tax foreign truck drivers
Will foreign truck drivers soon be charged to take to French roads? Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

France mulls plan to tax foreign truck drivers

France’s much-maligned eco-tax charge on lorries that was scrapped late last year, could make a return, this time targeting foreign truck drivers, who could be asked to pay up at the border or even forced through the country's motorway tolls. READ () »

Ex-France international Makélélé faces tax probe
Ex-France international Claude Makélélé, once of Chelsea and Real Madrid faces a tax probe in Switzerland. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

Ex-France international Makélélé faces tax probe

French tax authorities have asked their Swiss counterparts to start a probe into former France international footballer Claude Makélélé, who played for English club Chelsea and Spain's Real Madrid among others. READ () »

France will stick to EU debt target, minister says
France will stick to EU deficit targets the country's finance minister promised this week. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

France will stick to EU debt target, minister says

The new French finance minister vowed this week that his country would stick to the tight deficit reduction targets set by Brussels and rubbished speculation that Paris were hoping to persuade the EU to give them more time. READ () »

Dylan hate charge thrown out by French court
Hate charges against Bob Dylan over comments he allegedly said about Croats have been dismissed by a French court. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP

Dylan hate charge thrown out by French court

A court in Paris has thrown out a case against US singer Bob Dylan on charges of incitement to hatred filed after he was quoted allegedly comparing Croats to Nazis, his lawyer said on Tuesday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
French tax declarations: The key points to remember
Gallery
French slang: Everyday words you need to know (but use cautiously)
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
International
VIDEO: ‘Anti-French’ Cadillac ad sparks anger in France. See why.
Features
Buying property in France? Here's 10 things you need to think about
National
What will the future map of France look like? The answer lies within.
Politics
'The 27 French regions aren't the problem, it's the 36,000 towns'
Culture
Ex underage call girl Zahia picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Gallery
Buying a house in France? Ten things you need to think about
National
France bans work emails after 6pm! Sadly it's not quite true.
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why don't the French do charity? Is it down to taxes?
Society
VIDEO: The Paris zoo is back but this time the animals are in charge
Advertisement:
National
This will be the most expensive road in France - Only €1.66bn for 12km!
Society
Only in France? Gourmet pensioners party lands village in hot water
National
What's the worst thing to do when you realise you're on the wrong train?
From showers to kissing: Anglos tell Twitter what's weird about France
National
'A big quake will hit France and there will be casualties' - Scientist warns
Culture
After all the dozens of books is France still worth writing about?
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Opinion
Paris or the suburbs - where would you live?
National
VIDEO: Walk the line - crossing the Seine on a tightrope
Society
Innocent dating or pimping? French 'sugar babies' site hit with lawsuit
National
Chef Gordon Ramsay seeks expat Kitchen Nightmares in France
Society
Barking mad? Dog testifies in court in French murder case
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se