Grand Opening il 17 maggio della rigenerazione della “Cité des Électriciens” , già sito minerario a Bruay-La-Buissière nel Nord della Francia

The “Cité des Électriciens” is the oldest preserved mining estate in the North of France. One of the Mining Basin’s five mining sites of exceptional interest, it has been listed ‘Historical Monument’ by the French State in 2009. The mining basin’s living and evolving cultural land­scape has been listed UNESCO World Heritage since June 30, 2012. Embodying both, its history and its present ambitions, the Cité des Électriciens is destined to become one of the levers of the region’s renewal, precisely at the spot where coal industry has once flourished.

Built by the Mining Company of Bruay in the mid-19th century to accommodate the miners and their families, it is an outstanding example of the architecture of the first mining villages. Even though the mining heritage of everyday life such as housing is often little known, poorly treated or even destroyed, the Communauté d’Agglomération de Béthune-Bruay and its partners chose to renovate and find new functions to this historical ensemble of buildings. In 2012, the renovation project was entrusted to the architecture agency Philippe Prost, along with FORR for the landscape gardening, Du&Ma for the museography and Villar+Vera for the signage system.

Within a surface area of 3 hectares, six rows of terraced houses have been renovated; 1.5 hectares of vegetable gardens and an orchard were planted; a contemporary edifice was built in accordance with the volumes and materials of the ancient rows of houses. 5 years of construction works were necessary to achieve this big project.

Completely transformed, the Cité des Électriciens becomes a hotspot for the discovery of the mining landscape, urban planning and housing estates. From the Industrial Revolution up until the last pit closed, visitors will be able to raise their awareness about French coal mining heritage inside a 1,000-meters-square interpretation centre equipped with interactive devices (games, audio-visual media, models and other user-friendly programs). Outside, educational, artistic and vegetable gardens will complement the tour.

The Cité des Électriciens is also a place of artistic creation and cultural development. As such, it will invite professionals aiming at developing a creation or a research project linked with the mining heritage to reside within the Cité. Visual, performing, landscape artists, but also novelists, poets, historians or archivists will be welcomed.

Finally, the renovated mining estate has five vacation rentals available: four ancient terraced-houses and one room inside a cosy early 20th-century annex (a « carin » in French). All of them are fully furnished. The Cité des Électriciens is the Western gateway to discover the Mining Basin of the North of France. Visitors and tourists can linger for a few days to get more than a glimpse on a region offering a wealth of national heritage. Along with the Cité, belfries, World War I memorials, the Louvre Lens or the Mining History Centre in Lewarde are must-see tourist sites. Sport lovers will also enjoy unusual activities: the ski slope on a slag heap in Noeux-les-Mines, hiking or cycling from fields and woods to the top of slag heaps, etc. Our team will warmly welcome you at the Cité des Électriciens where you will be able to appreciate fully the simple beauty of the surroundings and the various on-site activities.

The Cité fosters lively and authentic interactions between inhabitants of Bruay-La-Buissière, visitors and artists in residence. As such, all outdoor spaces (streets, squares, vegetable gardens, orchard) are freely and fully opened at any time for a walk, a game, or a picnic… A small restaurant, the Carin gourmand, will serve homemade cuisine using the Cité’s vegetable gardens harvests and local eco-friendly produce.

Workshops for adults and children, as well as exhibitions and artistic events will involve local people, artists and tourists with a specific attention to social cohesion and togetherness, both values that have undeniably forged the positive image of life in a mining village.

Source : Company