22 Best Places And Things To Do in Lens, France

Lens is a charming city located in the Hauts-de-France region of France. Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and remarkable architecture, Lens offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Lens:

1. Louvre-Lens Museum

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The Louvre-Lens Museum is a must-visit attraction for art and history enthusiasts. This satellite branch of the world-renowned Louvre Museum in Paris showcases a remarkable collection of art and artifacts in a contemporary setting. The museum’s architecture is a sight to behold, and the rotating exhibitions ensure there’s always something new to discover.

2. Lens 14-18 Great War Museum

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This museum offers a captivating journey through the history of World War I. Through immersive exhibits, multimedia presentations, and an extensive collection of artifacts, visitors can gain insights into the lives of soldiers and civilians during the war. The museum also includes reconstructed trenches and shelters, providing a realistic experience of the war’s conditions.

3. Bollaert-Delelis Stadium

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Sports enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit Bollaert-Delelis Stadium, the home ground of Racing Club de Lens, a popular French football team. Attending a match or taking a stadium tour allows you to witness the fervor and passion of local fans while experiencing the electric atmosphere of a live football game.

4. City Hall and Charles de Gaulle Memorial

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The City Hall of Lens is an architectural gem that showcases a blend of traditional and contemporary styles. Right next to it is the Charles de Gaulle Memorial, dedicated to the famous French general and statesman. The memorial houses exhibits and documents highlighting de Gaulle’s life and achievements.

5. Jardin Public

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For a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city, Jardin Public is an ideal spot. This picturesque park offers beautifully manicured gardens, serene walking paths, and charming ponds. It’s the perfect place to relax, have a picnic, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll amidst nature.

6. Maison Syndicale

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Lens has a strong mining heritage, and Maison Syndicale is a fascinating testament to this history. This former miners’ union building now serves as a cultural center, showcasing exhibitions and events that shed light on the region’s coal mining past. It’s a great place to learn about the local industrial heritage.

7. Local Cuisine

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No visit to Lens would be complete without savoring the local cuisine. Indulge in regional specialties like carbonade flamande (a beef and beer stew), flamiche aux poireaux (a leek tart), or the famous Maroilles cheese. There are several charming cafes and restaurants in the city where you can enjoy these culinary delights.

8. Beffroi de Lens

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The Beffroi de Lens is a prominent landmark in the city, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area. This historic bell tower is a UNESCO World Heritage site and provides visitors with a chance to climb to the top and enjoy breathtaking vistas of Lens and its picturesque surroundings.

9. Félix-Bollaert Stadium

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Football enthusiasts should also visit Félix-Bollaert Stadium, another iconic venue in Lens. Home to RC Lens, the stadium has a rich history and has hosted numerous exciting football matches. Attending a game here allows you to witness the passion and dedication of local fans, creating an unforgettable experience.

10. Mining History Centre

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As a city with a significant mining heritage, Lens is home to the Mining History Centre, also known as Centre Historique Minier. This interactive museum offers a comprehensive exploration of the region’s coal mining past. Visitors can descend into an authentic coal mine, discover the lives of miners, and learn about the impact of mining on the area.

11. Explore Arras

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Lens is conveniently located near the city of Arras, which is worth a visit during your time in the region. Arras is renowned for its well-preserved medieval town center, featuring stunning Flemish architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and the grand Place des Héros. Take a stroll, visit the Arras Cathedral, and indulge in the local cuisine and vibrant atmosphere.

12. Notre-Dame-de-Lorette National Cemetery

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Just a short distance from Lens, you’ll find the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette National Cemetery, the largest French military cemetery from World War I. This poignant memorial is dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives during the war. Visitors can pay their respects, reflect on the tragic events of the past, and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made.

13. Explore the Surrounding Countryside

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Lens is situated in a picturesque region, making it an excellent starting point for exploring the beautiful countryside of Hauts-de-France. Take a drive or go on a cycling tour through the rolling hills, picturesque villages, and fields of the region. You’ll have the opportunity to discover charming rural landscapes, visit local markets, and experience the authentic French countryside.

14. Lens Christmas Market

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If you visit Lens during the holiday season, be sure to check out the Lens Christmas Market. This festive event takes place in the city center, where you can explore stalls selling crafts, regional delicacies, and unique gifts. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere, enjoy seasonal treats, and find special souvenirs to commemorate your trip.

15. The Mining Towns

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While in Lens, take the opportunity to explore the surrounding mining towns that played a significant role in the region’s industrial history. Towns like Avion, Liévin, and Hénin-Beaumont have preserved their mining heritage and offer a glimpse into the life of mining communities. You can visit mining-related sites, such as the Pit 11/19 in Loos-en-Gohelle, which has been transformed into an ecological park and memorial to the mining industry.

16. Outdoor Activities in Parc de la Glissoire

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Parc de la Glissoire is a recreational park located on the outskirts of Lens. It’s an ideal spot for outdoor activities, picnics, and family fun. The park features expansive green spaces, walking paths, and playgrounds. You can also rent bicycles or rollerblades to explore the park’s trails and enjoy the fresh air.

17. The European Centre for Ceramics

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If you have an interest in ceramics and pottery, make sure to visit the European Centre for Ceramics in the nearby town of Sars-Poteries. This museum showcases a remarkable collection of ceramic artwork and provides insights into the history and techniques of this craft. You can admire the diverse range of ceramic pieces and even participate in workshops to try your hand at pottery making.

18. Discover Regional Wines

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The Hauts-de-France region is known for its excellent wines, particularly from nearby areas like Pas-de-Calais and Somme. Take a short trip from Lens to explore local wineries and vineyards, where you can indulge in wine tastings and learn about the winemaking process. From crisp whites to robust reds, you’ll have the chance to savor the flavors of the region.

19. Shopping at Cité Europe

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If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy or wish to explore a large shopping complex, head to Cité Europe in nearby Calais. This modern shopping center offers a wide range of shops, including popular fashion brands, electronics stores, and specialty stores. You can also enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants or catch a movie at the cinema within the complex.

20. Visit the Coast

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Lens is conveniently located within driving distance of the beautiful Opal Coast. Take a day trip to towns like Boulogne-sur-Mer or Le Touquet-Paris-Plage and enjoy the sandy beaches, picturesque coastal landscapes, and fresh sea air. You can relax on the beach, try water sports, or sample delicious seafood in the charming seaside towns.

21. The Church of Saint Edward

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Pay a visit to the Church of Saint Edward, a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture. This historical church is known for its intricate stained glass windows and impressive organ. Step inside to admire the beautiful interior, soak in the tranquil atmosphere, and appreciate the architectural details.

22. Attend Festivals and Events

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Lens hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, providing opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions. The Fête de la Saint-Pierre, a summer festival celebrating the patron saint of fishermen, features parades, live music, and fireworks. The Christmas Market, held during the holiday season, offers a festive atmosphere with stalls selling crafts, food, and gifts.