A21, 62750 Loos-en-Gohelle.
|Incandescent Electric Light System
|Culture Commune, Rue de Bourgogne, 62750 Loos-en-Gohelle, Tel: +33-3-21-14-25-35.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Les Terrils Jumeaux du 11/19 (11/19 Slag Heaps) is actually not a show mine, it's more like a mining-related walk with outlooks. The region between the Paris Basin and the Belgian border has numerous coal layers, and at many locations there was coal mining, at least until the 1970s when many mines were closed. The remains are mine buildings, headframes and numerous slag heaps. A typical slag heap is just a place where the rocks were dumped which were transported to the surface during the mining. With some sort of transport system, like conveyor belts, dropping the rocks at the same place over a long time, huge, circular pyramids.
The colliery still exists, including the steel headframe. It is called 11/19 UNESCO WHS, the former mining building is used by the Culture Commune, a cultural center. There is no actual mining museum, and no actual show mine, but the buildings are there, the headframe is in a good shape, and there are explanatory tables all over. There are also guided tours offered after appointment, check the websites for dates. The guides are often former miners.
There is some confusion about the names, but terril is the French word for slack heap. Les Terrils Jumeaux du 11/19 simply means, "the twin slack heaps of the 11/19 mine". Another name is Terril De Loos En Gohelle, which means "the slack heaps at the village Loos-en-Gohelle". There is also the technical name, the official name of the heaps, one is 74A, the other is 74B.
We recommend to start at the parking lot of the former mine now culture center. Walk around the mine buildings, read some explanatory signs, take a picture of the headframe. Walk along Rue Léon Blum across A21 highway, there is the entrance to the heap area on the left. The heap 74B, the westen heap, has a good walking trail to the top and offers a great view.
Its actually not allowed to walk on every slag heap, only on authorized slag heaps like the twin slag heaps of Loos-en-Gohelle, where most of the routes are accessible to everyone. The path is stabilized up to the platform halfway at 110 m. In any case, bring shoes and appropriate clothing.