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There is no heritage without an heir! The Mining Basin of Nord-Pas de Calais has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2012. The territory and its stakeholders are engaged in the management and protection of this precious heritage with a view to transmitting it to future generations. Far from freezing it, this preservation is based on the reconversion of an entire territory: the Wallers-Arenberg mine site, now a center of excellence dedicated to the image and digital media of the future, is one of the big five emblematic sites of this heritage reconversion.

The history of the mining site from 1899 to today

Opened in 1899 by the Anzin Mining Company, the Arenberg pit symbolizes the entire evolution of the mining epic. It was commissioned in 1903 and soon became one of the most productive in the Company: 218,915 tons in 1906, and up to 452,630 tons in 1930. In 1930, coal production increased dramatically while extraction continue to evolve. In 1954, the national coal mines Arenberg create a new headquarters and build a more efficient washing. The site becomes a powerful headquarters of concentration, equipped with the most modern equipment. Yet the recession in the 1970s and the depletion of resources are shattering production. The operation will cease in March 1989. The mine site will be revived during the shooting of the film Germinal, directed by Claude Berri in 1993, with the main actors Miou-Miou, Gerard Depardieu and Renaud. The projectors again extinguished, some passionate minors who played the role of extras in the film, decided to create the association "the friends of Germinal and former miners." Reconverted into guides, they comment with a lot of emotion and anecdotes their place of work invested in particular by a showroom on the life of the miners and the history of Arenberg, and by the galleries of the sets of the movie "Germinal ". Protected as Historic Monuments since 1992, the Wallers-Arenberg Trench, unique with its three rulers, is one of the major sites of the Mining Basin World Heritage. A prestigious recognition for our territory and its heritage!

Precious like the pyramids of Egypt

What does this prestigious recognition tell us about our territory and its heritage? Yes, the history of the Mining Basin counts! Yes, part of the History of Humanity has been written here. Yes, for many centuries, industrial and labor history has changed the face of the world, and it is just as important as that of pharaohs, cathedral builders or kings. No more no less ! Our heritage and landscapes tell this human footprint with strength. And if they are not preserved, if we do not take care, who will testify in 50, 100 years and even ... in 40 centuries as for the Pyramids of Egypt?

Exceptional and plural

The mining site of Wallers-Arenberg, a large mining site, takes us back in time, at the heart of the history of the "Black Maw". The discovery of the surrounding mining towns, conical or flat slag heaps, the imposing Raismes-Saint-Amand-Wallers forest and the spectacular pond at Goriaux, offer us a concentrate of the richness and the diversity of the landscapes of the mining basin. extending from east to west, for 120 km, from Condé-sur-l'Escaut to Enquin-lez-Guinegatte. To represent all these facets, the perimeter of the World Heritage Mining Basin includes 353 heritage elements and 4000 hectares of landscape.


The professional guides of the Tourist Office will make you visit the pit tile, the shower room, the sets of the movie "Germinal" or the lamp shop during the visit "The mine makes its cinema" which will take you to the heart of the story of the "black mouths". Since its closure in 1989, the site, saved from destruction, has begun its conversion to become a center of excellence in image and digital media. With the visits "From Shadow to Light", come (re) discover the evolution of the site, the project of opening a pit at the end of the 19th century to today. Dark galleries in the spotlight, you will visit the pit tile or the compressor room where the Polytechnic University of Hauts-de-France has installed its research laboratory DeVisu.

In 2019, during various highlights, the Tourist Office will offer you the visit "Pic to Pixel".Miners working the rock with their picks to researchers and digital professionals working the image and sound, discover the site from the roof of the LEAUD for a panoramic view of the pit tile, visit the compressor room and the hall. test where filming takes place throughout the year to learn more about what is being done today and will be done tomorrow in Wallers-Arenberg, a site in perpetual evolution!

Guided tour of the mine site: 5 € / person. Information on the dates of the guided visits to the Tourist Office of La Porte du Hainaut at +33 (0) 3 27 48 39 65 or by email:; in the Agenda section of our website or the downloadable Animations guide below!

For cycling fans: from May to September, the "Bike Tour in Wallers-Arenberg" from the mine site with a private guide from the Tourist Office of La Porte du Hainaut, subject to availability. Duration: 2 hours. Price: 7 € / person, bike rental not included. Price / adult with loan of a bike: consult the Tourist Office of La Porte du Hainaut at +33 (0) 3 27 48 39 65 or by mail: