Lens city guide

Photos

  • Aerial view, Lens
    Aerial view, Lens
    23 January 2013
    ©Iwan Baan
  • Four days of Dunkirk race, Lens
    Four days of Dunkirk race, Lens
    23 January 2013
    ©AM
  • Centre ville, Lens
    Centre ville, Lens
    23 January 2013
    ©Altimage - Ph.Frutier
  • Fêtes de Lens, Lens
    Fêtes de Lens, Lens
    23 January 2013
    ©AM

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 brought fresh hope. Built on a former colliery at an estimated cost of €150m, France's newest cultural treasure helped bring the region UNESCO World Heritage status.

www.lens-tourisme.fr
www.villedelens.fr/en.html
www.rclens.fr

Stade Bollaert-Delelis
UEFA capacity:
35,000
Tenants: RC Lens
Opened: June 1933

• One of France's most iconic football landmarks, the ground was originally named after the former commercial director of the Lens Mining Company, Félix Bollaert.

• The suffix Delelis was officially added in September 2012, a few days after the death of André Delelis – mayor of the city from 1966 to 1998, and a diehard supporter of the club.

• 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 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 rebuilding programme ahead of UEFA EURO 2016 will last until late 2015.

• Stade Bollaert-Delelis holds the rare distinction of being able to accommodate almost the entire population of the town where it is located, with Lens home to around 36,000 inhabitants.

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