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A Second Louvre Opens in France You might consider Bordeaux, Lyon or even Marseilles but, if you were considering the best location for a multi-million Euro art gallery, you probably wouldn't choose a town that almost no-one outside the country has heard of. Nonetheless, last week the Louvre opened a second gallery in the relatively unknown ex-mining town of Lens. It was not just any gallery either. The Louvre-Lens is a spectacular work of art in itself, looking like something that wouldn't look out of place in The Matrix. The works of art are situated in a Japanese-designed, glass building with aluminium framing and this incredible sight is said to have breathed new life into the location of a former coal mine.

Like its Parisian counterpart, the Louvre-Lens gallery now provides a home to some of the world's most coveted works of art including a piece by Leonardo Da Vinci. Costing over one hundred million Euros to complete, it is hoped that situating the spectacular permanent exhibition in this quiet town in Northern France will boost the economy in the region as well as dispel the myth that Paris is the only centre of culture in the country. The project has taken over eight years to come to fruition and the creators expect over seven hundred thousand people a year to visit the site including tourists from the UK, Belgium and Germany.

Brits looking to be among the first to visit the Louvre-Lens will find it a relatively easy trip. By air the nearest airport is Lille which is just over thirty kilometres away. By sea, Calais is around 80 kilometres away. There are a number of hotels within twenty kilometres of the centre of Lens including budget, mid-range chains and high end options.

Once having taken in the art works in Lens, neighbouring Lille with its stunning city centre offers much to explore and with over half a dozen museums and art galleries it will certainly further fuel a taste for the arts. The main square is packed with great examples of historic French architecture and nearby narrow cobbled streets play home to boutiques as well as traditional French eateries and bars. The city has its own Natural History Museum housing a large collection of fossils as well as a Modern Art Museum.

The board at the Louvre will certainly be hoping plenty of us do decide to make the trip as it will set a precedent for their next ambitious plans for the Louvre 'brand' - the first international opening for the iconic art gallery in Abu Dhabi set to open in 2015.

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