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Lens is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. It is one of the main towns of Hauts-de-France along with Lille, Valenciennes, Amiens, Roubaix, Tourcoing, Arras and Douai. The inhabitants are called Lensois.Metropolitan areaLens belongs to the intercommunality of Lens-Liévin, which consists of 36 communes, with a total population of 250,000. Lens, along with Douai, forms the metropolitan area of Douai-Lens, whose population at the 1999 census was 552,682.HistoryLens was initially a fortification from the Norman invasions. In 1180, it was owned by the Count of Flanders, and sovereignty was exercised by the Crown of France. In the 13th century, Lens received a charter from Louis VIII of France, allowing it to become a city. The Flemish razed the city in 1303. Prior to this, the city's population relied on its markets. In 1526, Lens was made part of the Spanish Netherlands under the ownership of the French monarchy, and only passed back to France on 7 November 1659 with the Treaty of the Pyrenees.In 1849, coal was discovered in Lens after surveys were carried out at Annay, Courrières and Loos-en-Gohelle. This led to the expansion of the city into an important industrial center. The Lens Mining Company was founded in 1852 and experienced large profits. The city was largely destroyed in the First World War and half of the population perished. The Gare de Lens railway station, built in 1927, is served by regional trains towards Lille, Arras, Douai, Dunkirk, Calais and Valenciennes. In World War II, the Allies bombarded the city from the air, leaving 500 dead.Use our France online tour planner to arrange the hows, wheres, and whens of your trip to Lens.
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Top tours near Lens
$579 BOOK WITH VIATOR WWI Private Day Trip with Belleau Wood & Museum of the Great War from Paris
Duration: 10 hours
$250 BOOK WITH VIATOR Champagne Day Trip to Moët & Chandon and Family Winery with Lunch from Reims
Duration: 9 hours
Popular things to do in Lens
Side trips from Lens
Places to visit with Lens
Lille Trip planner BEST FOR: Room Escape Game, Landmark, Nightlife Amiens Trip planner BEST FOR: Religious Site, Garden, History Museum Calais Trip planner BEST FOR: Gift & Specialty Shop, Beach, Landmark Arras Trip planner BEST FOR: Landmark, Military Museum, Cemetery Boulogne-sur-Mer Trip planner BEST FOR: Aquarium, Religious Site, Hiking Trail
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