Coal Mining Experience

Coal Mining Experience

I visited this WHS in February 2014 on a cold sunny day. I decided to “visit” a number of sites included in the buffer zone and marked on the official UNESCO website. After a few attempts that yielded nothing more interesting than a couple of mounds of earth, a few desolate brick houses, a church near Aniche and a closed-down railway, I decided to drive straight to France’s largest mining museum, the Nord-Pas de Calais Mining History Centre, which is actually a former coal mining plant where various trains, railways and rusty machinery can be seen. The visitor centre is quite interesting to visit although not as grandiose as the Ruhrgebiet in Germany. The information available near the 18 viewpoints across the mining site is only in French so an audioguide is necessary to be able to appreciate the history behind this place. Certain places are only accessible with a guided tour that takes around 1 hour (you have to wear a bright yellow helmet inside too!). The highlight of my trip was the hanging clothes room where I could really appreciate how tough life must have been for coal miners. The museum is very expensive (14 euro or 12.50 euro) but at least there are all the facilities you could think of such as a restaurant, a cafeteria, toilets, a souvenir shop and also a pic-nic area outside. I would judge this WHS as France’s least interesting. To be honest, I very much preferred other industrial heritage sites on the list such as Volklingen or the Ruhrgebiet in Germany, Salins-les-Bains in France, Crespi d’Adda in Italy, the Woudagemaal in the Netherlands or the nearby Wallonia mining sites in Belgium.

http://www.gounesco.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/http://www.gounesco.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Trailblazer
I visited this WHS in February 2014 on a cold sunny day. I decided to 'visit' a number of sites included in the buffer zone and marked on the official UNESCO website. After a few attempts that yielded nothing more interesting than a couple of mounds of earth, a...