Located 15 minutes away from Arras in the heart of the mining basin, the Louvre-Lens Museum has attracted over 3.5 million visitors since it opened in 2012. With its Galerie du Temps (Gallery of Time) and temporary exhibitions of international stature, this unique place is a journey through time and space.
The Galerie du Temps, brimming with masterpieces
To cover 4,000 years of human artistic endeavour, from the advent of writing through to the mid-nineteenth century: this is the challenge met by the Galerie du Temps, an emblematic part of the Louvre-Lens.
This vast open space, to which admission is free, contains some 200 masterpieces from the galleries of the Louvre in Paris: sculptures, mosaics, bas-reliefs, sarcophagi and innumerable paintings. Some priceless works, such as Liberty Leading the People (Delacroix) and Œdipus and the Sphinx (Ingres) have spent time here.
Conversely, the Galerie des Expositions Temporaires (temporary exhibitions gallery) (paying) has played host to internationally significant events – Rubens, The Etruscans, Love – while the Pavillon de Verre (Glass pavilion) serves as a cultural laboratory. At the Louvre-Lens, those with an interest in behind-the-scenes activities can even visit the reserves and take part in restoration workshops.
An architecture of transparency
Clean lines, incredible volumes that bathe the interior with light and finally five large blocks, 360 metres long, which blend into the landscape. The Louvre-Lens is characterised by its modern and simply-styled architecture. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, the two architects of the Japanese architectural firm Sanaa, were awarded the Équerre d’Argent architecture award in 2013 in recognition of their work on the atmosphere, reflections and perfect handling of light at the French museum.
The Louvre-Lens Park
A visit to the Louvre-Lens starts with the park. The landscape architect Catherine Mosbach has created landscaped islets for visitors: here, a recreational meadow, there, the inner circle, a little further on, the pioneer wood. In addition to the 6,000 trees and 26,000 shrubs planted, also to be admired are the long lake, Tenir by Françoise Pétrovicth, the first contemporary art sculpture to be installed in the park, and those small copses offering an unusual tableau with the Bollaert-Delelis stadium in the background.
The louvre-Lens in practice
- Louvre-Lens Museum, 99, rue Paul Bert – 62 300 Lens.
- Tel: +33 (0)3 21 18 62 62 – www.louvrelens.fr
- Open daily (except Tuesdays), 10.00am to 6.00pm.
- Gallery of Time and Glass Pavilion: free and open admission.
- Temporary Exhibitions Gallery: €10/€5 (18-25s). Free admission for under-18s.