Through the Lens: An Architectural Time-Travel across Centuries

Delve into the heart of architecture through the ages with a fascinating trip to Lens. Discover the architectural treasures that have marked the centuries and let yourself be transported by the fascinating history of this emblematic city.

A diverse heritage with varied influences

Located in Hauts-de-France, Lens is a city whose architectural heritage tells a rich and diverse history through the ages. Despite the considerable damage suffered during the First World War, the city was able to reinvent itself while preserving the vestiges of its glorious past. A walk through Lens is a true immersion in a history book, where every building and every street are pages from a bygone era.

Art Deco treasures

Art Deco, a popular style of the 1920s and 1930s, has left an indelible mark on Lens. The city’s station, designed by the architect Urbain Cassan, is a remarkable example of this period. With its unique locomotive shape and magnificent mosaics, it is a gem to absolutely discover 🚂. This style is also found in many buildings in the city center, where the facades decorated with bow windows and ironwork testify to the avant-gardism of the time.

The renaissance after the Great War

The First World War devastated Lens, forcing the town to rebuild almost entirely. After the conflict, the city’s architecture was marked by a mixture of styles, combining tradition and modernity. The former “large offices” of the Société des mines de Lens, for example, are stuffed with Daum chandeliers and Majorelle furniture, revealing an elegance that is maintained despite the damage.

The remains of mining

The wealth of Lens is not limited to civil architecture. The city and its surroundings are also marked by their industrial past, particularly mining. City 9, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features restored engineer houses and administrative buildings that pay homage to this era. The twin slag heaps, the tallest in Europe, still dominate the landscape, serving as a poignant reminder of the region’s industrial past.

Modernity and new horizons

Lens does not only rely on its past. The city continues to develop and modernize while respecting its traditions. The Louvre-Lens Museum, installed on an old pit tile, is the perfect example. 💡. It is a place where art and history meet, offering visitors a unique cultural experience. In addition, contemporary architecture begins to emerge, symbolizing the continuity and evolution of the city.

Unique accommodations for total immersion

The Lens experience wouldn’t be complete without a stay in one of its unique accommodations. The former Apollo, transformed into the Ibis Styles hotel, retains its magnificent Art Deco facade and offers an immersion in the elegance of the 1920s. For a more local experience, the engineer’s house renovated into a hotel-inn offers total immersion in the mining history of the region.

A gastronomy rooted in history

Lens does not just charm with its architecture; the city also seduces with its gastronomy. Establishments like Al’Fosse 7 in Avion immerse visitors in a mine atmosphere with a menu in patois and traditional dishes like potjevleesch and Flemish carbonade. 🍲

Finally, the Piano Bar in the city center offers a remarkable culinary experience with a selection of noble meats, all accompanied by live evenings for an unforgettable gastronomic and musical experience.

Activities and discoveries for all tastes

Lens also offers various activities that allow you to discover the city from another angle. An escape game at the Bollaert-Delelis stadium is a unique way to go behind the scenes of the local football temple. In addition, beer lovers will not be left out with brewing workshops and escape games around this drink dear to the region.

Finally, hikes around lakes and slag heaps offer an unexpected and picturesque natural setting to end this architectural journey.

In short, Lens is a destination rich in discoveries, where every street corner, every building, is an invitation to a journey through the centuries. Whether you are passionate about architecture, history or simply curious, this city will amaze you with its diversity and timeless charm. 🌟