The Other Louvre

This is the Louvre-lens
I just back from Europe and the question everyone asks, "what was your favorite part of the trip?" Well, we put 3000 kms on the car rental, so we covered a lot of ground. The two stand-outs are the new Louvre in Lens and the City of Berlin ( I loved Berlin).

If you have been to Paris, Im sure you have suffered the long line ups, and poorly behaved tourists at the Musee du Louvre.  My last visit there, I was shocked by large (4' by 6') red and white signs next to the Venus de Milo warning against pick pockets .......... ok is that really necessary. Tourists were carrying their ipads filming the museum with absolutely no regard who they bumped into ..... get me out of here.

Travel north  (1 hour by TGV) of Paris to the new Louvre for a totally different experience. The Louvre-Lens was designed by the Japanese Architect firm SANAA, the Landscape Design is by Catherine Mosbach of Paris. The building sits on a 60 acre site of a former coal mine.
The low form building blocks look translucent, a combination of glass and stainless steel. Inside the main gallery is done in a time line starting at one end at BC. and traveling through to the 1860's. It is breathtaking, and a joy, as all visitors are essentially moving in one direction.
The Louvre-lens opened its doors in December 2012, and is offering  free admission for its first year. The landscaping is not completed, and I plan on going back in a five years to see the final vision.
The Beautiful city of Arras is just 15 minutes South of Lens and offers great  accommodations, restaurants, and shopping. Arras and Lens were both heavily devastated by World War I. Arras was rebuilt to its former glory. 
Between the two cities lies The Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge. This is a must see for every Canadian. Truly the most spectacular sculpture you will ever see. Prepare yourself to shed a tear, it is a very moving experience to see Vimy.
For anyone traveling to France this year a highly recommend this region. Lots to see, and learn! And of course enjoy the wine and cheese.