Monday, September 9, 2013

Louvre-Lens Museum

Some years back the government decided that the Louvre was too, um, Paris-centric, and that a satellite museum ought to be built, somewhere other than in Paris. The only department to apply was the Nord, and Lens, a very depressed and neglected city of that province, won the competition. Of course, the whole northeast of France has not been doing too well the last century or so, and therefore the decision to locate the new satellite Louvre there was met with approval. Sort of like the Guggenheim and Bilbao. Well, a little tiny bit like the Guggenheim and Bilbao. Louvre-Lens opened in December, 2012, eight months ago. Anyhow, we decided all this needed looking into, anything called Louvre must be good, and the building was very shiny, a little tiny bit like the Guggenheim in Bilbao. We were not disappointed.
Entry; shiny all over

A restaurant near the museum, which I predict will become
known as "Le Camembert"; the mountains in the background,
which are all over Lens and environs, are actually huge piles
of mining detritus; Lens, until the late 20th century was a
big-time coal mining center

As is our custom, we chartered a helicopter to get greater
perspective; yes, the white thing is the museum, Le Camembert
at the top; the whole campus is near a large and famous
football stadium, so there is ample parking (unlike the one in

Exterior; still shiny

Another look

And another; interesting, um, landscaping

Anyhow, on the inside, the museum makes very full use of
current technologies...more and better than anything else we
have seen


And thus

Spare parts; actually, there is a great emphasis on
preservation, restoration, research, education in the modern

The main collection is contained in one humongous room,
a very open concept, arranged chronologically, comparing
the three different cultures and histories of the Near East,
the Mediterranean, and the rest of Europe; this view from
the front

And at the back; everything is very well displayed, very
close at hand; a very enjoyable experience; and, unlike the
one in Paris, very manageable, even including the special
exhibits (which we skipped)

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