The new - second - Louvre in Lens (www.louvrelens.fr) had an exciting start.
Story, Camera, Edit : Bert Schwarz
© travel-magazine TV 2016
First, there were a lot of skeptics among art lovers who discussed whether it made sense for France's most famous gallery to open an outpost in Lens, a run-down former miner's town. Then there were controversies after damage by vandals, and then there were fears that Lens would never prevail over the other top-class European museums.
On 29 November 2004, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin announced that Lens had been selected as the site for the new Louvre. The decision to settle in the former mine 9 by Lens means the recognition of the entire nation for an area that has been wounded several times, both by war and by coal mining. Proud of its mining past and marked by its history, Lens is a city dedicated to reconversion.
Louvre-Lens comes with a chain of five reflective glass and aluminium boxes. The spartan beauty of the buildings lies in their simple, clear design, in which no structure distracts in any way. Daylight falls through the glass roofs and is reflected by the walls, while the artworks are scattered throughout the exhibition space, giving visitors the unique opportunity to admire them from different angles.
The Galerie du temps is the heart of the Louvre-Lens. On a spectacular 3000 m² it presents more than 200 masterpieces from the collections of the Louvre and offers an unprecedented journey through art history, from the invention of writing in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC to the industrial revolution in the middle of the 19th century. Its chronological and multidisciplinary scenography creates a new dialogue between epochs, techniques and civilizations.
Each year, temporary exhibitions of international significance take a completely different look at the Louvre's collections than the Galerie du temps, enabling them to be presented by works from all over the world.
The Glass Pavilion offers thematic exhibitions based on the collections of museums in the Hauts-de-France region.
The Louvre-Lens Museum also allows visitors to enter its wings. A series of digital tools reveals the hidden life of the works, while the reserves and the restoration workshop are visible through large oriels and can even be opened during guided tours.