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La Marcasse

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Discover the Historic Charm of La Marcasse in Colfontaine

Nestled near Mons in Belgium, just a stone's throw away from Valenciennes and Maubeuge, La Marcasse in Colfontaine is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into the rich mining history of the Borinage region. This historic coal mine, one of the oldest in the area, holds a special place in the heart of locals and visitors alike.

A Historic Landmark

La Marcasse is a coal mining site located in Wasmes, in the Borinage region of the Hainaut province in Wallonia. Its history dates back centuries, with references to the discovery and use of coal in the region as early as the 11th century. However, it wasn't until the 18th century that the abbots and religious figures of the Abbey of Saint-Ghislain granted concessions for the mining of coal in the area.

Vincent Van Gogh's Connection

La Marcasse gained further recognition when the renowned painter Vincent Van Gogh visited the site during his stay in the Borinage between 1878 and 1880. Van Gogh, known for his deep empathy for the working class, spent time with the miners and captured their struggles and hardships in his artwork. His time at La Marcasse left a lasting impression on him and influenced his artistic style.

A Cinematic Legacy

La Marcasse's historical significance extends beyond Van Gogh's visit. In 1955, the site became the backdrop for Vincent Minnelli's famous biographical movie "Lust for Life," where Kirk Douglas portrayed the iconic painter. The film showcased the harsh realities of the mining industry and brought international attention to La Marcasse.

Exploring La Marcasse

Today, La Marcasse stands as a testament to the region's industrial heritage. The site consists of the mining yard and a slag heap, offering visitors a chance to step back in time and experience the atmosphere of a working coal mine. Guided tours are available, providing insights into the mining process and the daily lives of the miners.

Nearby Attractions

While in Colfontaine, be sure to explore the surrounding area. The Borinage region is home to several other fascinating attractions, including the Maison Van Gogh in Cuesmes, where Van Gogh lived during his time in the Borinage. The museum showcases his early works and provides a deeper understanding of his connection to the region.

When to Visit

La Marcasse is open to visitors throughout the year, but it's advisable to check the official website for the most up-to-date information on opening hours and guided tours. The site is particularly captivating during the warmer months when the surrounding landscape is in full bloom.


La Marcasse in Colfontaine is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and art lovers alike. With its rich mining heritage, connection to Vincent Van Gogh, and cinematic legacy, this hidden gem offers a unique and immersive experience. Explore the site, delve into the region's history, and discover the beauty of La Marcasse in Colfontaine.

Updated on 27 May 2024

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