Understanding the Great War in Artois

Carte des sites de mémoire en Artois autour de Lens

Located in Souchez ( 10 minutes from Vimy and 25 minutes from Arras ), at the heart of the Artois Front, the Lens’ 14 - 18 War and Peace History Centre is dedicated to the history of the First World War in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments of France.

The international visitors centre offers a unique collection of graphic material : animated maps, letters, archive photography (some hitherto unseen), period films and iconic objects from all around the world.

The exhibition represents the points of view of all the belligerent forces at the fronts of Artois and French Flanders : the Germans, French, British, Belgians...

There are over 300 large photographs to help illustrate offensives, and the archive film footage allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the World War one (WWI).

The permanent exhibition, developed by an international scientific committee and directed by the French historian Yves Le Maner, provides the keys to understanding and interpreting the themes and chronology of World War One. It establishes a coherent account of the events which struck the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region between 1914 and 1918.

Below, find the 7 chapters which make up the Lens’ 14 - 18 museum :

Lens 14 18 visiting map

1 : The war of movement (August - October 1914)

2 : Trench warfare

3 : A deadly war of attrition

4 : The North under German occupation

5 : Return to war of movement (march - november 1918)

6 : Death at the front

7 : The « hell of the north » and reconstruction


The exhibition aims to make easy access to the public about the Great War events in Northern France. It takes about two hours to discover the displays and the battles which took place one century ago.

The high-quality photos, the artefacts and dynamic maps (which shows the troops movement) are exclusively viewable on site.