Located 28km away from Lille in northern France, the former coal mining stronghold of Lens is, not for the first time in its history, striving to adapt to change. Part of the Spanish Netherlands between 1526 and 1659, and heavily affected by the last century's world wars, the town has been anxious to forge a new identity since the closure of the last colliery in 1990.
Given the importance of the mining industry to the town after coal was discovered in 1849, coping with transition has proved a real challenge, but the opening of the Louvre-Lens art museum in December 2012 has brought fresh hope. Built on a former colliery at an estimated cost of €150m, France's newest cultural treasure recently helped bring the region UNESCO World Heritage status.
Stade Félix Bollaert
UEFA capacity: 39,000
Record attendance: 48,912
Tenants: RC Lens
Opened: June 1933
• One of France's most iconic football landmarks, the ground is named after the former commercial director of the Lens Mining Company, Félix Bollaert.
• Built by unemployed miners, the venue originally possessed an oval shape but began to take on a rectangular form when the first of four new stands was unveiled in 1976.
• The ground has hosted several games in European club competition, even serving as home to Lens's local rivals LOSC Lille in the UEFA Champions League in 2001/02 and 2006/07.
• The stadium underwent renovation work and improvements ahead of both the 1984 UEFA European Championship and 1998 FIFA World Cup, and was also used during the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
• The Stade Félix Bollaert holds the rare distinction of being able to accommodate the entire population of the town where it is located, with Lens home to around 36,000 inhabitants.