24 hours at the Hotel Louvre-Lens in Northern France

The Louvre-Lens Hotel is a former mining village that's become a crown jewel of Northern France, a region where the industrialist spirit of the past still hangs, subtly, thanks to the successful conversion of 26 former miners' houses into a cozy and contemporary 4-star hotel. Opened in December 2018, it is the ideal home base to discover the Louvre-Lens museum as well as the historical and cultural heritage of Northern France.

9 am - Back to the past

The silhouette of the Louvre-Lens hotel blends in perfectly with the landscape. And for good reason: the old Cité 9, just in front of the Louvre-Lens museum, is an authentic mining village sporting the typical facade of the working class houses of the mining basin. From the outside in, the 4-star hotel announces its message: here, we respect our past. The selfsame rough-hewn exterior quickly arouses curiosity to discover the rest of this original building.

9:15 am - Make yourself at home

Fireplace roaring in the lobby, large windows opening into the garden, soft sofas and silky carpets—from the entrance, you feel like you're being welcomed home. Altogether, the decoration of the hotel echoes the past without ostentation, from its coal-black walls, to its mine-like lighting, floor made to look like railway sleepers and omnipresent original exposed bricks.

10 am - A room of one's own

The dark hues of the room draws a lovely curtain over each of the 51 rooms of the hotel. The somber atmosphere and luxurious materials of the room create a cocoon-like place of rest while the perfectly sandblasted and scarred bricks contrast the pure line of custom designed furniture. This is a place with rich history—its like laying down your head in the chiaroscuro of a Flemish painting.

10:15 am - Let there be light

From black to white, from shadow to light, from the past to the present—this is not the place to rest! Jump into the bathroom, and dazzle yourself with the light in contrast to the dark bedroom. On the ground, cement tiles have the good taste of tradition and authenticity. It's the perfect setting to start your day.

11 am - The Louvre is our neighbor

The bright glass and aluminum pavement built on an old mine pane beckon you from inside the hotel—just have to cross the street to discover history at the Louvre-Lens museum, little brother of the Louvre-Paris. The majestic Galerie du temps opens its 3,000 m2 (32291.73 ft2) to visitors free of charge with 200 masterpieces lent by the great Parisian museum. Since its so close, and the price is right, you can come every day of your visit!

5 pm - Art at the hotel

From reception area to the bedrooms, the string of buildings are punctuated by glass structures with small welcoming lounges and relaxation areas that offer new artistic escapades. Photos, engravings—the private collection of the hotel is worth a look. Events are regularly organized between the hotel and the Louvre-Lens, including preview visits of the temporary exhibitions.

6 pm - Relaxing in style

To end the afternoon, choose between a reading break in the lounge area, a game of pool or foosball—after all, soccer is a big local specialty (long live RC Lens)! Or, opt for a sauna session overlooking the garden. It's a comforting treatment with a stunning view!

8 pm - See you at Galibot

An old stomping ground from the mining days, the bar-restaurant of the Hotel Louvre-Lens is well anchored in local traditions. Here, sample the typical saloon style of Northern France: relaxed atmosphere, a warm welcome and generous cuisine served under dozens of loupiotes (a string of lights inspired by the type used in mines). In the kitchen, the chef Fabien Pascal reinvents some local specialties. His carbonade? Not to be missed.

10 am - Hearty breakfast

The breakfast at Galibot is the perfect start for an active day. Return to the Louvre-Lens? Yes, for a walk in the park to admire the beautiful Art Deco facades of Lens and Bethune and the belfry of Arras along the way. Then, climb to the top of the highest spoil heaps (hills made from discarded stone) in Europe, Loos-en-Gohelle, as well as the Vimy Memorial, for the view. All doable within a day—nothing is far from the hotel Louvre-Lens.

Getting to Lens in Northern France