Louvre Lens, Not A Hit With Brits – Bentley Boys in Belgium

The impressive Louvre Lens museum in northern France is popular with every nationality apart from the British, despite being an easy drive from the Channel ports.

Also, the ‘Ferry to Norway’ campaign group launches this week. Dover Port now free to invest. German driver ‘let off’ in France. Man survives fall off Oscar Wilde. DUI spot-check measly haul in Luxembourg. Derek Bell, Bentley Boy in Belgium. Hypnotic racers on Tour Auto.

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LOUVRE LENS, NOT A HIT WITH BRITS

One million visitors but few from the UK.

Photo @DriveEurope.

Photo @DriveEurope.

Despite being less than an hour’s drive from the main Channel Ports, the Louvre Lens museum near Arras in northern France struggles to attract British visitors.

The first – and so far only – outpost of the famous Paris Louvre, home to the Mona Lisa, clocked up an impressive one million visitors within a year of its of opening in December 2012.

However, Daniel Percheron, the president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region told The Independent yesterday, ‘To our great surprise and disappointment, only a few are from the UK. The British disembark in Calais, they drive down the motorway only a few kilometres away but they don’t stop.’

The series of five low-rise minimalist glass pavilions, in a landscaped park, with a Michelin-starred restaurant nearby, has a diverse permanent display of art, sculpture and artifacts through the ages and from around the world.

It also includes masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Rubens and Rembrandt and finishes with Delacroix’s 1830 Liberty Leading the People, a symbol of the French Revolution.

A new temporary exhibition on ‘The Pharaoh’s Animals’ starts in December.

The museum is just off the A21 to the west of Lens, a former mining town. At 65 miles direct from Calais on the A26 (€7.20 toll each way) and 59 miles from Dunkirk on the (free) A25, visitors arrive within an hour of leaving the ferry.

The area was previously best known for the Battle of Vimy Ridge. A 250 acre memorial, opened by King Edward VIII before his abdication in 1936, is five miles further south.

General admission to Louvre Lens is free until the end of 2014, or €9 to temporary exhibitions. It opens every day except Tuesday, 10-18:00. See here for more information.

Daytrip special offers from the Channel operators include £25 with P&O (including six free bottles of wine), £38 with DFDS (Calais or Dunkirk), £40 Eurotunnel or £48 with MyFerryLink.

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Sports car legend Derek Bell drives Bentley's 1930 Le Mans winning 'Old Number One' at Belgium's premier classic car event the Zoute Grand Prix at Knokke-Zoute near Zeebrugge on Saturday. See zoutegrandprix.be

Sports car legend Derek Bell drives Bentley’s 1930 Le Mans winning ‘Old Number One’ at Belgium’s premier classic car event the Zoute Grand Prix at Knokke-Zoute near Zeebrugge on Saturday. See zoutegrandprix.be

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roundup: NORWAY. A new group pressing for the return of a UK-Norway ferry link launches on Thursday. Since DFDS pulled out of the Harwich-Esbjerg ferry last month there are no ferries between the UK and Scandinavia. Brainchild of Trevor Roberts, the website goes live at www.ferrytonorway.com. That’s as much as we know so far. Catch up with the latest regarding Norwegian Seaways and the proposed replacement Harwich-Esbjerg service from Regina Lines. CROSSING THE CHANNEL. A man who fell from the deck of Irish Ferries’ massive Oscar Wilde in Rosslare Harbour last night was rescued – almost miraculously considering the weather conditions – by the Isle of Innisfree, another of the operator’s ships. He is recovering in hospital says Belfast Telegraph. FRANCE. A German driver caught at 237kmh on the A7 near Valence yesterday was fined €750 and his licence was confiscated. He will also receive a court summons. As The Connexion confirms, drivers found to be more than 50kmh over the speed limit normally face a €1500 fine. French magistrates can/do increase penalties. LUXEMBOURG. An unannounced, country-wide drink driving spot check blitz over the weekend saw just eight out of five hundred drivers over the limit, a strike rate of 1.6%, says wort.lu. DOVER. A bid for greater financial freedom has been approved by the government. From 5 November, the Port will be able to borrow money on the capital markets to fund investment. As a ‘statutory corporation’, formed by Royal Charter in 1606, the activities of Dover Harbour Board are strictly regulated. The news comes a couple of weeks after the Port announced a new £120m rejuvenation programme. Chief exec Tim Waggott called the new powers the start of a ‘golden age’ for Dover.

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Hypnotic footage of racers heeling, toeing and double declutching around two hairpins near Valence on this year’s Tour Auto Optic 2000:

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