Lens' 14-18 - Centre d'Histoire Guerre et Paix in Souchez (Photo © Justin Lobros)

Centenary News focus on new Lens 14-18 museum in France

Posted on centenarynews.com on 29 November 2015
Share |

Centenary News profiles a new museum remembering the First World War in the heart of the former Artois battlefields in Northern France.

Lens' 14-18 - Centre d'Histoire Guerre et Paix traces the history of the conflict from its outbreak to post-war reconstruction of the devastated Nord/Pas-de-Calais region, with a strong international emphasis.

The French National War Cemetery at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette and Vimy Ridge are both nearby.

Opened in 2015, the museum is the second of two Centenary projects in the area dedicated to the soldiers of all nations who fell in the fighting from 1914-18.

Visitors can consult the records of 580,000 troops commemorated on the Ring of Remembrance, an elliptical monument inaugurated by President François Hollande at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette on Armistice Day 2014.

The strikingly modern Lens' 14-18 building, designed by the architect Pierre-Louis Faloci, is structured around cubes of black concrete called 'chapels'.

Exhibits have been sourced from across the world to reflect the viewpoints of all the Great War protagonists, the museum says.

They include letters, almost 400 photographs and 20 or so archive films.

The exhibition, created by historian Yves Le Maner, a specialist in the Nord/Pas-de-Calais region, looks at the early war of movement and the trench system; the occupation of Northern France, the offensives of 1918 and post-war reconstruction.

The French National War Cemetery and Ossuary at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette (Photo: Centenary News)

Lens' 14-18 - Centre d'Histoire Guerre et Paix (War & Peace History Centre) is situated in the town of Souchez, on a road linking Arras and Lens. 100 years ago, battles were fought for control of the surrounding heights of Vimy and Lorette, and their positions dominating the plains of Artois.

Opening the Ring of Remembrance (L'Anneau de la Mémoire) on November 11th 2014, President Hollande declared that the Centenary commemorations aimed "not simply to honour the dead or highlight the suffering, but also to reconcile people."

The memorial breaks with tradition by listing the 579,606 soldiers of all nationalities killed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, their names recorded alphabetically on an elliptical ring of 500 golden metal plates.

More information about visiting 'Lens' 14-18 - Centre d'Histoire Guerre et Paix' can be found here.

Information supplied by: Office de Tourisme et du Patrimoine de Lens-Liévin

Images © Justin Lobros (Lens 14-18 Museum); Centenary News (Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Cemetery and Ossuary) 

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News