A satellite of the iconic Louvre in Paris, the Musée Louvre-Lens in the Pas-de-Calais region of France, is a jewel of a discovery. Once an important mining region, Lens is now home to an art gallery, a luxury hotel of the same name and a restaurant, L’Atelier Marc Meurin.
5,000 years of art and culture
The Musee Louvre-Lens at Arras offers an impressive 32,000 sq ft of space with around 200 items covering 5,000 years. The items are on loan from the magnificent Louvre in Paris, with the aim of making the collection more accessible. The Lens gallery, which opened in 2012, is however funded by the Pas-De-Calais.
The works – paintings, sculpture and artefacts – are arranged in chronological order. The layout, in contrast, is informal and means you can see from one end to the other at a glance which is exciting. Each December many of the objects are refreshed and area re-curated.
Hello, Homère my old friend
There are also additional Exhibitions Temporaires for transitory items that show for only three months. When I visited this was Homère which delighted me as a classical studies graduate. Seeing an original edition of Homer in a binding displaying the arms of Henry II was beyond thriling.
Where to stay
Opposite the museum is the eponymous Hôtel Louvre-Lens. Former miners’ houses have been converted to a stylish hotel with glass sections linking the buildings. The contemporary interior design is elegant, with natural materials, soft lighting and excellent service.
Where to eat
In the Musée Louvre-Lens parc is L’Atelier Marc Meurin, a Michelin two-star chef although the restuarant here is not currently a Michelin star. The food and service are certainly of that standard though. At the Hôtel is Le Galibrot brasserie run by Chef Fabian Pascal with a menu that features local specialities, dishes such as Fried snail spring rolls.
You can read the full published article From Mining to Museum: The success of the elegant Musée Louvre-Lens and Hôtel.
I visited Lens courtesy of the Pas-De-Calais tourism. pas-de-calais-tourisme.com