Home >
A land of memories opens its door to the future

A land of memories opens its door to the future


Béthune and Arras are towns that have been influenced by the Flemish and, to a certain extent, the Spanish people. They represent the limits of an extensive tract of land lying between the Artois plains, the mining area and the farming villages. They bear the marks, in the same way as Lens and Liévin, of the First World War, immortalized in the many white crosses and the landscape scarred by memories.

The Artois hills are dominated by beautiful churches and a particular type of architecture in brick and stone. The slag heaps have shaped the landscape, becoming areas for walking and outdoor pursuits. And Lens is the site of the Louvre Lens since 2012 !

  • Louvre-Lens extérieur 3 ©A.Chaput Pas-de-Calais Tourisme
  • Anneau de la mémoire ©Pas-de-Calais Tourisme
  • Memorial Indien ©Pas-de-Calais Tourisme
  • Grand Place de Bethune ©S-Flament
  • Terrils jumeaux Loos en Gohelle © OT Bethune-Bray- Eric Desaunois
  • Cimetière Allemand Maison Blanche ©M-Harmel
  • Art déco Bethune Béthune © Yannick Cadart

Focus on: Lens, a symbol of the renewal of the Mining Basin

The glass pavilion of the Louvre-Lens provides a unique look at art, with the surreal beauty of the Mining Basin as its backdrop. Having become one of France's most unmissable visitor sites since its opening, the Louvre-Lens brings a new cultural destination to the area north of Paris. The works on display in the Gallery of time take us from the distant past to the treshold of the XIX Century through an artistic universe of great richness. Surrounded by the site of Pit 11/19 (featuring the tallest twin slag heaps in Europe) and the legendary Stade Bollaert not far away, the museum appears like a gem unearthed from the mines of yesteryear. A visit to Lens continues in the city itself, which reveals to us the history of the Mining Basin, listed in 2012 as World Heritage by UNESCO ! 
From the train station to Place Jean Jaurès, the Art Deco style is present throughout the streets and across the façades at the heart of town. Lens and neighbouring communes of Liévin, Loos en Gohelle... were not spared from the depravations of two World Wars and are still the departure point for many visitors who flock fere for remembrance tourism, taking in the Canadian Monument in Vimy, the National Necropolis of Notre Dame de Lorette, the German cemetery of Neuville-Saint-Vaast... In this way, history, art and the future all rendezvous in Lens !

Zoom : Arras: City of Art and Light…

When visiting the Boves – Xth century quarries – it becomes clear that Arras hides fabulous treasures… First of all, the squares with 155 Flemish baroque style façades form a splendid and unique setting in Europe.
The town hall and the belfry, which is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site, are another evidence of the city’s magnificence.

The Saint-Vaast abbey, outstanding masterpiece from the XVIIIth-century monastic architecture, is home to the Museum of Fine Arts and its famous medieval collections.

Not far from there, the visit continues with the Theater and its magnificent Italian-style auditorium, the XVIIIth-century Hôtel de Guînes and the Musée du Compagnonnage…

Built in the XVIIth century by Vauban, the Citadel hosts the Main Square festival and is a great example of the city’s revival. For Arras is an animated place: culinary discoveries, a huge market on Saturday mornings, shopping, no less than 1500 terrace seats and so many events and festivals. These are all the more reasons to discover or rediscover Artois’ capital.