'The other Louvre' - Art museum among the coal mines

Published 1045 GMT (1845 HKT) December 4, 2013
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Welcome to the Louvre-Lens, a gleaming art gallery breathing new life into a former coal mining town in northern France. Philippe Huguen/Getty Images/File
This month marks one year since Louvre-Lens opened. The minimalist museum, in the town of Lens, displays hundreds of masterpieces on loan from the Louvre in Paris -- including Eugene Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People" (pictured). Philippe Huguen/Getty Images/File
Designed by Japanese architect firm Sanaa, the €150 million ($204 million) museum doesn't separate artworks according to style or era. Instead, the pieces -- spanning Greek sculpture to 19th century French painting -- are showcased together in one long light-filled gallery. Philippe Huguen/Getty Images/File
It is hoped the new museum will help reinvigorate the town of Lens, which has suffered high rates of unemployment since its last mine closed in the 1980s. "There was nowhere the Louvre was as needed as much as Lens," says the gallery's director Xavier Dectot. Philippe Huguen/Getty Images/File
In the past year, around 750,000 people have visited the museum, pictured in this aerial view. Will it be able to revive the area, much like the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, or the Tate in Liverpool, Britain? Cedric Lepillet/Getty Images/File