The Louvre Museum in Lens
As of 2012, the Louvre Museum was no longer confined to the famous Parisian Palace. The first satellite branch of France’s National treasure-house opened in Lens, in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, on that same year. The Louvre-Lens has since been attracting over one million visitors every year.
An Open Space for the Arts
The tour starts in the park, which was designed to reflect the region’s mining past. Trails follow the railways used to carry coal from the mine to the train station. The historical entrance of the mine and its well were preserved and integrated in the museum’s design.
The transparent hall (3,600m²) is the starting point to various galleries:
- The museum’s semi-permanent displays are in the spectacular Grande Galerie, containing artifacts from the mothership in Paris (Louvre-Lens will not house its own collection).
- Side galleries (1,800 m² over 80 m) hold two temporary thematic exhibitions per year. Temporary exhibits will showcase a particular era, civilization, artistic period, or even themes inspired by art history.
- The glass pavilion spreads over 1,000 m², with transparent walls and a view across the meadow landscape. The space serves a dual function as a resting area or picnic spot, and a temporary exhibition gallery that will also showcase themed exposition yearly.
- The backstage area is also transparent and open to the public, revealing the intimacy of the museum’s storage space.
The Grande Galerie at the Heart of the Museum
The 1,200 m long room covers 3,000 m². Lined in polished aluminum, slightly curving walls, and gently concave floors, the Grande Galerie is established as the core of the museum.
Here, the pieces are free-standing rather than hung. Visitors wonder among the objects like creatures in a forest.
5000 Years of History
Until 2017, Louvre-Lens permanent display, Galerie du temps, will be showcasing 250 works carefully chosen from the 200 year-old Parisian institution. These objects will remain here for five years. A third of them will be changed every year, before the exposition is recreated with a new selection.
The museum reveals five thousand years of art history, from the origins of writing in various civilizations to 19th century masterpieces. Though still chronological, pieces are grouped by theme so that artefacts are in dialogue.
Here, visitors have the opportunity to understand the influence of Egyptian sculpture on Greek sculpture, or how civilizations evolved simultaneously —the Egyptian pyramid period and the Mediterranean Cycladic civilization.
The tour ends with notable masterpieces such as Rembrandt (17th century); Eugène Delacroix’s luminous oil painting, Liberty Leading the People, from the romantic period (19th century); Lion Crushing a Serpent, from the famous sculptor, Antoine-Louis Barye (19th Century).
Musée du Louvre-Lens
99 rue Paul Bert