Lille, Flanders & the Somme

The innovative Louvre-Lens, opened in 2012, showcases hundreds of treasures from Paris' venerable Musée du Louvre in state-of-the-art exhibition spaces. The centrepiece, the 120m-long Galerie du Temps, displays a semi-permanent collection of 200-plus objects from the dawn of civilisation to the mid-1800s. Unlike the original Louvre, the collection here can easily be taken in and savoured in a single afternoon.

The glass-walled Pavillon de Verre is used for themed temporary exhibits that change three times a year. For kids 11 and under there are 1½-hour art workshops (in French). A third Louvre site opened in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Free half-hourly shuttle buses link the Louvre-Lens with Lens' train station. Unless you're dining at the museum's gourmet restaurant (or you have a disability) it's not possible to park onsite; the nearest car parks are 400m west on rue Paul Bert or Bollaert-Delelis Stadium, 1km east.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lille, Flanders & the Somme attractions

1. Lens' 14-18 Museum

3.53 MILES

Housed in four black concrete cubes, this 2015-opened WWI museum provides an in-depth introduction to WWI on the Western Front. Over 300 extraordinary…

3. Ring of Remembrance

4.32 MILES

It's hard not to be overwhelmed by the waste and folly of the Western Front as you walk past panel after panel engraved with 579,606 tiny names: WWI dead…

4. Hôtel de Ville

9.76 MILES

Arras' Flemish Gothic city hall dates from the 16th century but was completely rebuilt after WWI. Four géants (giants) live in the lobby. For a panoramic…

5. Grand' Place & Place des Héros

9.76 MILES

Arras' two ancient market squares, the Grand' Place and the almost-adjacent, smaller place des Héros (also known as the Petite Place), are surrounded by…

6. Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial

10.06 MILES

The Mémorial Indien, 27km southwest of Lille, records the names of 4700 soldiers and labourers of the Indian Army who 'have no known grave'. The 15m-high…

7. Carrière Wellington

10.46 MILES

Staging ground for the spring 1917 offensive, Wellington Quarry is a 20m-deep network of old chalk quarries expanded during WWI by tunnellers from New…